Some Anglican Difficulties

When I lived in England Anglicans almost universally referred to the Catholic Church as “the Roman Catholic Church.” They would emphasize the word “Roman”. The subtext was, “We Anglicans are Catholics too you know. It’s just that we’re not ‘Roman’ Catholics.”

Very often this was accompanied by a branch of the Dan Brown school of church history in which Christianity came to Britain directly by Joseph of Arimathea. They would explain that he founded the Celtic Church which was independent of “Roman hierarchical authority.” This Celtic Church was in tune with nature, valued women’s ministry, was democratic and well, pretty much the way Anglicanism is today…” Then at the  Synod of Whitby the Roman Catholic Church began to assert it’s harsh, foreign and hierarchical authority. At the Reformation the true, unsullied, English Catholicism was restored. Unfortunately there is virtually no evidence for this theory, but they cling to it still in one form or another. To read more about this idea here’s an article I wrote on it some time ago.

They like to say, “Romanism is just one form of Catholicism.” In addition to this the word “Romanism” or the “Roman” prefix is very often linked with an incurable English snobbery and racism. So the Anglicans would say in a delightfully snide way, “The Roman Catholic Church! The Church for Italian waiters and Irish ditch diggers!” It’s nice in an old fashioned Miss Marple English sort of way I guess. All Oscar Wilde quips, tea and lace and fine china for the old ladies (of both genders and all ages).

I don’t really mind this sort of thing. It adds to the quaint charm of the Church of England.

However, a couple of things should be observed. First, by its very definition there can be only one Catholic Church. Saying, “We’re Catholic just not Roman Catholic.” is a contradiction in terms. It’s like a fellow on a dude ranch in Sweden saying, “I’m a Texan, just not an American Texan.” Saying “Romanism is just one form of Catholicism” is like a person  who runs an English tea room in Los Angeles saying, “Of course being an English subject is just one expression of Englishness.” That’s nonsense. Anglicans shouldn’t deceive themselves. They may do things in a Catholic way, and that’s very nice indeed, but dressing up like a Catholic doesn’t make you a Catholic. Believing Catholic doctrine and using a Catholic liturgy is very nice too and a darn sight better than not doing so, but that also does not make you a Catholic.

Being a Catholic is defined by being in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, and if you don’t mind we’ll define what being a member of our church consists of just as you,  quite rightly, would define yours. We don’t mind at all if you imitate us, and we’re flattered that you want to be Catholic in many ways and we encourage you in this enterprise, and seek fellowship with you as our brothers and sisters in Christ. We acknowledge your many gifts and the service you bring to Christ and his church and we value our relationship and seek for fraternal charity to be nurtured, but within this same spirit of charity we also wish to correct your mis apprehension that you are Catholics.

You are not. Your church was founded in a violent and rapacious revolution that deliberately broke communion with the successor of Peter, and that wound to the unity of Christ’s body has been made worse through the conscious and intentional decisions your church has made over the last forty years.

I realize what I have written may anger and offend some Anglicans, but healthy relationships are based on honesty and clarity. I, for one, find that one of the greatest obstacles to unity is the number of Anglicans who still–despite the events of the last decades–maintain that they are Catholic. With all sorts of subtlety, smoke and mirrors they maintain this fiction.

If only they could see, from a Catholic perspective, how sad and silly they appear. Once I became a Catholic I looked back on the arguments I made and the positions I took and I was ashamed of how much I had believed the lies of others and worst of all, lied to myself.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • Joseph

    Father, this is going to make a few people angry, especially the Canon who commented on your female ordination post. I will offer prayers to the Holy Spirit for your ability to respond in Truth and Charity. Not that you have a problem responding to opposition. But yours is a ministry that the demonic father of division abhors and will attack with vigour.
    God bless you and thanks for the great post.
    +J+M+J+

  • Michael Fraley

    I love the way you approached the phrase, “I’m a catholic, just not a Roman Catholic.” I’ve thought about this for a good many years, and I think you nailed it with your Texas cowboy analogy. I had a dear friend who would say that to me, and I would think, “You’re a catholic? Would you mind if I began introducing you to our friends that way?” And I knew the awkward backpeddling would begin, so I never did that to him. The unspoken message, I think, was that “just a Christian” almost non-denominational “catholicism” was the REAL thing, and what I clung to was a fragment – a heavily encrusted, barely visible fragment which relegated me to a ghetto-ized form of the faith. I know for a fact that he never thought it through that way, but the unspoken message remained. This is somewhat different from your experience with Anglicans, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

  • Stephen W Jones

    Father,
    A spot- on post, as always. When I was in the Anglican ministry and struggling with this issue I was once arguing with a close friend and colleague in a neighboring town about this very same issue. At the climax of the discussion I asked him off the cuff what the name of the Catholic parish was in his town and he answered, without hesitation, with the name of the Roman Catholic parish. I then asked him “Why didn’t you name your own parish…if it really is Catholic?” of course, this greatly frustrated him, but within a year he had entered the Church and I followed 6 months later. God willing, we will both be ordained this summer.

  • Angela Petrash

    My experience with some people is this. “It doesn’t matter what church you go to… they’re all the same. As long as you believe…” I’m a DEVOUT Catholic, in FULL Communion with Mother Church and I make no bones about that. So it seems that some of my non-Catholic friends always want to bring that “they are all the same…” to the conversation as if that will sway my beliefs in my Church. More than likely… they are just trying to feel better about or justify their beliefs. My reply ususally begins with, “Yes, but…”
    Peace,
    Angela

  • Quanah

    I agree with what you say concerning Anglicans and being Catholic or not. There are some though who can say in all truth and integrity that they are Catholic, just not Roman Catholic. Those would be Orthodox who are in communion with Rome.

    • Jonathan

      I was about to say the exact same thing :) God bless the Byzantine Catholics.

    • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com priest’s wife (@byzcathwife)

      yes….but…because our ‘final authority’ is Rome, then we are Roman Catholic, too- so, all Catholics (Christians in union with Rome) are Roman Catholic- most are Roman-rite or Latin-rite Catholic and the rest of us are various Eastern rite Catholics (or ‘Orthodox in union with Rome)

      …but maybe I am complicating matters further because I am Romanian Byzantine Catholic (you know- all the Romans are simply Romanians who couldn’t take it and ran back to Rome- haha)

  • Quanah

    Sorry. Only “Roman” is suppose to be italicized.

  • Mikey

    Quanah,

    No part of the Orthodox faith (not Eastern, nor autocephalous, nor autonomous, nor Assyrian, nor Oriental, nor whichever) is in communion with Rome. 1054 still hasn’t been bridged at this point.

    Better still, Rome only has the corner on the large “C” Catholic (which it has trademarked for two millennia). Christ’s Church, and it is His full stop (see Matthew 16:18 – “I will build my Church”) is His Church universal, small “c”. His Church has in it believers in Jesus Christ from all the expressions of Christianity, Orthodox, Roman, Anglican, Reformed, Baptist, Coptic, Ethiopian, Antiochian, et cetera.

    Pardon me, but your provincialism is showing.

    • savvy

      Mikey,

      Constantinople and Rome lifted the mutual excommunications in 1965.

      In 1965, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople lifted mutual excommunications dating from the eleventh century, and in 1995, Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople concelebrated the Eucharist together.

      This means we are in communion with most of Orthodoxy. Except they refuse to recognize this.

      • perenolasc

        Pope’s words regarding the visit of 1995:”our meeting in Rome on the feast of Sts Peter and Paul in 1995, when we prayed in St Peter’s, despite the painful separation during the celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy, since we cannot yet drink from the same chalice of the Lord”
        (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/2004/july/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_20040701_jp-ii-bartholomew-i_en.html)

        • savvy

          From the Catholic perspective, the Orthodox, are in schism, but not heterdox. Hence they can still receive communion in our church.

          “Members of the Orthodox churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of Communion by Christians of these churches. ”
          (canon 844 § 3)

    • Jonathan

      Clearly, you’ve never heard of the 22 other Rites of Catholicism that all are in full communion (meaning obedience) to the See of Peter, Byzantine Catholics and the Anglican Ordinariate.

      • http://www.stbarbarabyzantinecatholic.com John

        Jonathan,

        Thank you for your wise words of clarification concerning us Eastern Catholics, or Byzantines. As you said, the other 22 Rites of the Catholic Church are just as Catholic as the Romans, and of equal dignity and beauty. Thank you for your blessing for the Byzantines. God bless the Romans!

    • gedda fan

      we must return the word ‘heretic’ to our vocabulary. not telling the truth is no ecumenism; people eternal souls are at risk in this lack of frankness and effort for political correctness

  • Andrew

    The “legendary” visit of Joseph of Arimathea’s visit to the British Isles goes back at least to the middle ages, and is not some silly Anglican thing.

    Compared to much of the Hagiography encountered in the lives of Catholic saints, it is downright historical!

    There accounts going back to Hippolytus, who mentions a Joseph among the 70 sent out from Jesus, ending up in Britain.

    The wisdom of our ancestors is in the sacred legend, and these unhallowed hands shall not touch it, or else the church is done for. (Adapted from Dickens)

    • gedda fan

      the wisdom of your ‘ church’s history’ not withstanding the great dickens is tied forever in the lech and brutal cruelty of old harry and his top advisers T. cromwell et.al. o by the way- joseph is not an apostle and your is not an apostolic church – see Leo XIII on this item.

      • flyingvic

        Ah, yes: “it must be right because the Pope says so.” We at times find it difficult to understand what one person says to another face to face in real time. How amazing, then, that a committee set up by the Pope should be able to understand precisely what was and what was not in the minds of people speaking a different language in another country three hundred and fifty years previously!

        Worse, the Pope reiterated the idea that a sacrament is truly conferred by one who is a heretic or unbaptised provided that he uses the right words, but not by someone who is a pure, good and faithful follower of Christ who uses the wrong words. If you want to convince an unbeliever that sacraments are not ‘magic’, I suggest that this is not a good way of doing it.

        Why DOES the Roman Catholic Church insist on limiting the possibilities of the Holy Spirit?

        • savvy

          “the Pope reiterated the idea that a sacrament is truly conferred by one who is a heretic or unbaptised provided that he uses the right words, but not by someone who is a pure, good and faithful follower of Christ who uses the wrong words. If you want to convince an unbeliever that sacraments are not ‘magic’, I suggest that this is not a good way of doing it.”

          This was established at the second ecumenical council. The validity of the sacrament depends on the holiness of God, since Christ established them. The minister is the mere instrument. A priest not in a state of grace, would not receive the fruits of the sacraments, the same as someone else, but the sacrament would still be valid.

          Why DOES the Roman Catholic Church insist on limiting the possibilities of the Holy Spirit?

          We don’t. Creation is good, because God created it. The word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.

          The sacraments are linked to the incarnation, because Jesus Christ came in the flesh.

          The created world is not some illusion, we have to escape to be spiritual. This is Eastern philosophy.

          Not shared by traditional Christians, either Catholic or Protestant.

          • flyingvic

            “The validity of the sacrament depends on the holiness of God, since Christ established them.”

            Amen. Not, therefore, on whether the minister of the sacrament used the right words.

  • http://therecusanthousemate.blogspot.com/ Chatto

    Father,

    I’ve just finished a biography of Bl. Newman, and he tried the “Catholic but not Roman” gambit over 150 years ago, and it didn’t work out. These views have been around since the days of the Oxford Movement, and aren’t going anywhere I’m sure. Here’s hoping they follow Bl. JHN into the actual Catholic Church.

    As an aside, I was under the impression that those in the Eastern Catholic churches, while still in full communion with Rome, don’t refer to themselves as ‘Roman’ Catholic. For instance, the largest Eastern sui iuris church is often called the Ukranian Greek Catholic Church. No mention of ‘Roman’. What do you think? Would you still call them ‘Roman’ Catholics?

    • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com priest’s wife (@byzcathwife)

      yes- but not Roman-rite Catholic- the word ‘Catholic’ assumes the final authority is Rome- Praise God!

  • Episcopal Refugee

    Father Dwight:

    On Holy Saturday I will publicly re-affirm my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and confirm my belief in the Faith, Dogma, Doctrine and Teachings of the Catholic Church – after forty years of ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church. In discussions with my caring and godly bishop concerning renunciation of Holy Orders he assumes the underlying catholicity of The Episcopal Church – a catholicity moderated by the great diversity of theological views and ferment which are hallmarks of the church.

    The theological diversity that The Episcopal Church prides itself upon – and that many of us find to be an utter illusion – that diversity I have truly found within Catholicism. I have found the Catholic Church to be a rich and hearty stew of theological liberals and conservatives, political liberals and conservatives, charismatics, mystics, low and high church, those nostalgic for the Pre-Vatican II church, new young Traditionalists, etc. But, unlike The Episcopal Church, the Apostolic, Catholic, and Creedal center of the Catholic Church holds! While the boundaries for theological thought and dialogue are somewhat elastic, the Magisterium takes its responsibility to guard the Dogma, Doctrine, and Teaching of the Church seriously and actively. It is the Magisterium that in effect invites and empowers theological reflection and discussion by setting and defending the bounds. What do I mean? From my work in family systems I have learned that the health and functionality of a family is directly and critically related to the health, functionality, and differentiation of the parents. A family without clear, effective and unified parental leadership is a family at great risk – if not high dysfunction. This is why, I believe, the Catholic Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has always taken its understanding of the Apostolic authority, succession, and continuity of the Church so seriously. In this parental sense it is right and most fitting to call the Holy Father – Papa – and our parish priests – Father.

    Father, your blog has been an indispensable resource in my discernment around things Catholic over the past five years. On Holy Saturday I will become a new Catholic Christian due in major part to the good guidance of your honest and challenging teaching. Thank you!

    May our gracious Lord bless and strengthen us all as we move through the great saving events of Holy Week and into the joy and confidence of Easter.

    • gedda fan

      Ep. Refugee- pls. pray for me….. your heart is close to God and your words on my behalf will only help! t-u

      • Episcopal Refugee

        You will be in my prayers throughout Holy Week. Peace and confidence in Christ.

    • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com priest’s wife (@byzcathwife)

      We are praying for you! My family and I (mom, dad, 5 kids) converted to the Catholic Church from Episcopal 27 years ago. It has been an awesome journey

      I suggest you read Jen Fulwiler’s post at the National Catholic Register for new converts

      • Episcopal Refugee

        Thank you. I will look for Jen’s article.

    • Gail Finke

      Welcome and God bless you!

  • veritas

    When I was an Anglican, being steadily drawn towards the Catholic Church, it never ceased to amaze me how the Anglo Catholics would fall over themselves to defend Catholic teachings re the Eucharist, the Sacraments, Marriage etc. They would do this very well and use Scripture, Church history and logic to prove their points.

    However, when they got to Peter and the Papacy, all logic suddenly went out the window. This basic Biblical, historic and Catholic doctrine was absolutely dismissed.

    I was puzzled. I could see no logical reason why they accepted all the other Catholic doctrines on Biblical, historic and logical grounds, yet reject this one.

    Then it became more and more obvious. If they accepted this doctrine – their time as Anglicans was finished. They would have no choice but to come home to the Catholic Church. They could no longer be their own “popes” and pick and choose what they would and would not believe. And after all, the ability to shape the Church to suit your own ideology is the very raison d’etre for being Anglican.

  • SteveD

    when I was a child, many years ago, teachers and priests told us that we were Catholics and must never refer to ourselves as ‘Roman Catholics’ which was a title invented by the CofE to justify its own existence. Now, many churches have signs bearing the words ‘Roman Catholic’. When I see one, I feel like stopping and spraying paint over the word ‘Roman’. Shouldn’t every priest know what the name of his Church is?

    • Alejandro

      I totally agree! In Spanish we only say “Iglesia Católica” (Catholic Church) but now that Protestantism has made large gains within the Hispanic community you will hear some of them talk about the “Roman church”and “romanism”. Hispanics will also sometimes say “I’m Catholic, Apostolic and Roman” and in legal issues dealing with the Church in x or y country it will usually be described as “the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church in México (or whatever country)”

  • Clinton

    @ Mikey: What you describe is a pan-Christian confederation, not a Church. Having the believers in Christ hold varying and conflicting doctrines is not scriptural. Thus, there is only one Church-The Catholic Church.

  • Canon Charles King, ssc

    No, Joseph, this Canon is not offended.
    Confused, perhaps, but offended, never.
    You see, I was responding to this statement, “they don’t really believe in a sacrificing priesthood and transubstantiation. Quite rightly, they’re not Catholic priests and don’t claim to be.” made by our host, by pointing out that I, and many others whom I personally know believe most sincerely in a sacrificing priesthood, transubstantiation, and ourselves to be Catholic priests. The fact that you, or our host, does not believe that there are Anglicans who believe such things is downright silly. That is, to my mind, a bit like saying that there are no Northside Chicagoans who believe that the Cubs will win the World Series in 2012.
    You may not believe they will, history suggests they won’t, but that does not mean that no one believes that they will.
    I do not expect to change your mind, but it would be logically consistent to rephrase the statement along the lines of “Despite the Papal Bull of Leo XIII, etc. there are still many Anglican priests who believe in a sacrificial priesthood, transubstantiation, and that they, themselves, were ordained into the Catholic Priesthood.
    If you would persuade us otherwise, please begin where we are and not where you think we ought to be.

    • savvy

      Canon Charles,

      The issue is that Anglicans and the Anglican church cannot make up their mind. On the previous discussion on women ministers. We were told quite frankly that the Episcopal church does not hold the Eucharist to be a re-presentation of the sacrifice, but a memorial meal. Hence, the priest is not a sacrament in the same sense as Catholics view it.

      We were then asked to agree to disagree.

      However, we hold that the sacraments operate objectively, and not subjectively. The form, matter and intention have to work together.

      Consider, the power switch analogy. If I turn on the light in my room. It’s not what I think that creates the light, but my willingness to tap into the complex network that was produced in a power plant to generate light.

      Form, matter, and intention working together.

      Faith does count, but we move from objective to subjective, since we live in a physical world.

      Moving from subjective to objective creates all kinds of issues, for theology, ethics etc.

      C.S. Lewis called this the poison of subjectivism, where subjectivists will argue that a table is a chair, and if you disagree with them, they’ll beat you over the head with it.

    • gedda fan

      good Canon Charles- you may believe it is raining out – but if the reality is it is not, it does not matter what you believe – hence you cannot just disregard [despite] Leo XIII’s answer to the question of the validity of anglican orders etc. etc. ……
      anglicanism is a charade. there are no anglican priests; none who offer truesacrifice , no matter how firmly they believe. There is ONE True church ; what you or others may believe only has validity within the context of that reality – He did not create many ways to get to the Father – there is only one way , thru Him and His church. This church has priests who alone offer the sacrifice of Calvary – Believe it or not.

      • savvy

        Gedda,

        Orthodox have a valid priesthood too.

      • Paul Correa

        Except Christ sacrificed for us once for all time, meaning your ongoing sacrifices are exactly what?

    • Gail Finke

      If you believe that, then how can you also say you are in communion with other priests who don’t? I do not doubt your sincerity, but to this outsider it makes no sense that I can go in one Anglican church and find a priest who believes this, and then I can go in another that thinks the whole thing is symbolic. A friend of mine who is an Episcopalian says “we think the Eucharist can’t be defined, it’s bigger than all explanations” but he obviously does define it because he also says I am wrong. Actions speak louder than words, and if you really, really, really believe that the Eucharist IS the body and blood of Christ, how can you think you belong to a real church if that’s just a matter of opinion for the priests? I’m sorry to be blunt but I simply don’t understand it.

      • flyingvic

        Roman Catholics are REQUIRED to hold specific beliefs about various matters, though it is open to question whether all of them actually do. Anglicans are not so required, although, like our brothers and sisters in Christ in other denominations, we hold to the catholic creeds. As in Holy Scripture there is a breadth of imagery attempting to give insight into God’s truth, so there is allowable in Anglicanism a breadth of understanding within the parameters set by the creeds. So yes, I feel a lot more ‘comfortable’ about the theology and worship in some Anglican churches than I do in others, but that is no reason for me to feel superior or self-righteous about the ins and outs of my understanding as opposed to theirs.

        To be honest, in my experience of RC worship I’ve seen the same spectrum of ‘high’ church and ‘low’ church that exists in the CofE, and from RC laypeople I’ve heard the same mix of heresy and orthodoxy that I’ve heard from every other denomination. Just don’t get precious about it!

    • John Fisher

      Would the good canon back up his words with actions by joining the rest of the Universal Church again. Or will him mainyain a schism on grounds of loyalty to schism?
      Or as with many Anglican clergy are there other moral inpediments?

  • deacon john m. bresnahan

    The Maronite Church based in Lebanon with Antiochian roots claims they have never been out of communion with Rome except when communications were cut off with Rome by Islamic conquest of areas between Lebanon and Rome. Communication was ” re-connected” at the time of the Crusades and the twi Churches have been”re-connected” ever since.

  • Jack

    Melkites, Maronites, and Chaldeans are Catholic, too–but not ROMAN Catholic.

    They are sui juris churches that are part of the Catholic Church.

  • tom

    From my understanding, what we are calling Roman Catholic actually refers to Catholics of the Latin Rite.

    • gedda fan

      bravo Tom. bullesye

  • John Fisher

    Father I have every right to comment on this. My family are British. My family were once Anglican..my father still is or should I say lapsed as the majority of the Cof E are. My Grandfather was a royal servant and in the Guards.
    Henry VIII broke both his own coronation oath and Magna Carta which guaranteed the independence of the Catholic Church in England. Modern Anglicans are mutations… that result when a fault is introduced into the DNA of the Christian community. When it becomes inbred and broken by the State becoming a poodle or domestic pet. Generations of breeding and a limited blood pool and created the mutations of Christian life in England. To serve God or caesar… well those that are Cof E do not grasp that the Church is universal…nor provincial and bent to the interests of individuals with power. The C of E are like hermit crabs that live in the shells of the Catholic Church. They say look at our Catholic shell, but inside they are not members of an Universal Church. Christianity finds it hard in England to oppose the state. The Queen in theory claims power she does not possess. Parliament now full of everything but many Christians claims a juridiction it does not have. The Cof E bishops are appointed by prime ministers that are certainly not Christian. The various “houses” of synod are just fabrications. Protestantism is based upon a reidiation and when this is taken to its logical consequences the individual is exulted and everything repudiated according to personal whim. In the end all that remains is externals. Generally what morals do the Anglicans have? Clegy in civil unions, “divorcess”ordained and even animals like dogs. The only thing the C of E has is externals and a decor.
    So when the English think of the C of E recall that it was the Universal Church that built England not the C of E which brought dissension, confusion. provincialism and a mutated spineless type of something… called the C of E!

    • gedda fan

      are you named after the cardinal, bishop of Rochester, of somewhat recent and fond memory, or is your moniker John Fisher by choice, not by Christening? fine name, regardless; and what a man he was!! and how accurate and well put your comments are!

    • flyingvic

      Interestingly, Magna Carta mentions “Stephen . . . cardinal of the holy Roman Church” among those giving their advice to the King; and then in the very first section, “that the English Church shall be free . . .” It may quite clearly be argued, therefore, that 300 years before Henry VIII there was already existing a clear distinction in the English understanding between the Roman Church and the English Church.

      As for the rest of your piece, John, I’m sorry, but what a mish-mash of bile and inaccuracies! Speaking as a mutant (which is nothing to what my wife calls me) I can only reject most of what you say about the Church of England as being unrecognisable. England has never been a limited blood-pool: generations of immigrants from just about every country on earth have continually refreshed the stock and invigorated the industry and inventiveness of the people – hence the success of the British Empire, a world-wide operation, conquered, maintained and ruled by the inhabitants of one of the world’s smallest islands.

      Prime Minister Thatcher was furious when Archbishop Runcie opposed her wishes for a triumphalist service after the Falklands War; only last month the bishops in the House of Lords defeated the Government in an attack on a Benefits Bill.

      What power does the Queen ‘claim’? Who nominates the candidates for episcopal appointments, and how often does the Prime Minister fail to ‘choose’ the name at the top of the list? The three Houses actually exist in the Church’s General Synod, so how can they be ‘fabrications’? “. . . and even animals like dogs” – what on earth are you talking about?

      “Spineless”? Have you forgotten that God created both vertebrates and invertebrates, and that both have their place in his creation?

  • flyingvic

    Is 30 March the Feast-day of St. Rawman? Just wondered.

  • Julia

    Take a look at what the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia has to say about “Roman” Catholic. It was invented by the English. The U.S. having been settled by the English, that’s the name used by the government and society here. Catholics who came from foreign lands and had English as their second tongue picked up that name as normative. It does not refer to the Latin or Roman Rite. It is meant to emphasize the foreignness of the troublesome recusants in England.
    It is not used by the Church to distinguish the Western Church from the Catholic Churches in the East. It is not correctly used to distinguish the Latin from the Greek Churches. You will not find it used in any Vatican documents except for those having to do with ecumenical endeavors concerning the Church of England., since they insist on it.

    The Encyclopedia entry has the story of a Catholic Cardinal wanting to present his compliments to Queen Victoria on her jubilee. The gatekeeper insisted on introducing him as a “Roman” Catholic Cardinal and he refused. There was a stalemate for some time until finally the Cardinal gave in, but followed that up by informing British Catholics that “Roman” Catholic is not correct usage and he didn’t want them to think it was.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13121a.htm

    • flyingvic

      To be fair, it’s hardly surprising that a “Catholic” dictionary resists the prefix “Roman”, is it?

      “…the foreignness of the troublesome recusants…” Amongst the many sins of the medieval papacy was the continued attempt to act as an earthly and political power – and power-broker – and the willingness to use all the tools of medieval diplomacy, including courtly intrigue and assassination. The attempt to move from that position to claim the moral and theological high ground reflects little credit on the Roman church then or now.

  • http://www.todayquestions.blogspot.com George Farahat

    In my opinion, the most important aspect of the Catholic Church is unity. The Successor of Peter is the sign of unity in the Catholic Church and the Servant of Servants. Whether Anglicans believe they are right in calling themselves Catholic can be argued for a long time, but more importantly it is the way in which the Catholic faithful argues. Following my reading of the CDF’s Declaration in 2000 “Dominus Iesus” I think that Anglicans, who sincerely follow their tradition in good and learned conscience and have not yet received the truth of Christ (probably because of ignorance or distorted preaching), are in a certain way linked to the Catholic Church since anyone who may be saved must be saved through Christ and the Catholic Church is the minister of the Word of God, namely Christ. Please read my most recent post on my blog about the late Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Shenouda III to learn my point of view here:http://www.todayquestions.blogspot.com – Thanks.

  • savvy

    “The attempt to move from that position to claim the moral and theological high ground reflects little credit on the Roman church then or now.”

    Donatism was rejected at the second ecumenical council. The idea that you can create church after church in search of the perfect one. Such a church does not exist. True does not mean perfect, because first principles exist regardless of what people think. Seek Christ first, not Christians.

    • flyingvic

      Seek Christ first, not Catholics?

      • savvy

        Yes, seek Christ first. Objective comes before subjective. The principle of philosophy is existence.

      • savvy

        Christ can’t be divided. The Catholic church was careful to observe a single Eucharist. They did not say” you believe xyz and I will believe xyz”

        • flyingvic

          Christ’s body was broken, literally and figuratively.

  • Shaughn

    Oy. Here we go again.

    Fr. L writes,

    “Being a Catholic is defined by being in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, and if you don’t mind we’ll define what being a member of our church consists of just as you, quite rightly, would define yours.”

    By whom? By what authority? “The Catholic Church” isn’t even the legal name for the RCC in this country, which is rather, “Ecclesia Sancta Romana.” Rome therefore has no legal monopoly on the term.

    Have a look, if you will, at the OED entry on the term “Catholic.” You won’t find the definition you provide until the third or fourth ecclesiastical definition. Rome therefore has no philological monopoly on the term.

    The term Catholic first appears in the epistles of St. Ignatius, which reads, “Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” The See of Rome doesn’t enter into the equation. Unless you’re willing to get into the weeds with me and sort through Saepius Officio, the Anglican response to Leo’s declaration about Anglican orders, I will be content to obey my bishop, and you must be content to obey your bishop.

    This entire argument, therefore, is mostly specious and circular. If your target audience doesn’t agree with the evidence you present for the authority you purport to have, then resting on that authority won’t help you.

    What is the point of attacking Anglicans incessantly? Do you hope to convert them in this way? (Not likely to happen!) Are you worried that Roman Catholics will mistakenly wander into an Anglican church and receive communion? (Again, not likely.) Wouldn’t it be far better to engage in a bit of cataphatic teaching? Wouldn’t the faithful learn more from knowing what Roman Catholic believe and who they are, rather than what they don’t believe and who they are not?

    • savvy

      Ignatius, the successor of St. Peter, also warns against schism, and says, there should be a single Eucharist. He does not say, “some of you can believe xyz about the Eucharist and others xyz”

      “Be not deceived, my brethren: If anyone follows a maker of schism [i.e., is a schismatic], he does not inherit the kingdom of God; if anyone walks in strange doctrine [i.e., is a heretic], he has no part in the Passion [of Christ]. Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of his blood; one altar, as there is one bishop, with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons (Letter to the Philadelphians 3:3-4:1 [A.D. 110]).”

      “Wouldn’t the faithful learn more from knowing what Roman Catholic believe and who they are, rather than what they don’t believe and who they are not?”

      I couldn’t agree more with this.

      • Shaughn

        Savvy,

        My church (which isn’t part of the Anglican communion) is “in schism,” as you say, entirely because Rome chooses not to recognize us and considers our orders invalid. (The East, for what it’s worth, does. Imagine that!) It’s not as though we don’t recognize Rome’s orders. So far as we’re concerned, it’s the same Eucharist, down to a classically Thomistic understanding of the Eucharist.

        • savvy

          Shaughn,

          I am not sure what you mean, because The Eastern churches do not recognize Anglican orders either.

          http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/answer/6/

          The Roman Catholic church did until the Edwardian Ordeal, when the C of E denied Apostolic succession, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and rejected it.

          There is no priesthood without this, regardless of what individuals might believe, because a church observes a single Eucharist.

          It’s not a case of we hate you. It’s a case of how can we figure what you believe, when even you can’t.

          • Shaughn

            Savvy,

            Your statement on the link is simply inaccurate, and I’d be happy to show you letters from various patriarchs which indicate otherwise. As regards the C of E rejecting Apostolic Succession, I’d be happy to point you toward numerous sources which also indicate otherwise, to include Saepius Officio. Read up!

  • savvy

    flyingvic,

    In the natural world things have a purpose, meaning, and end. Perhaps this book might help you understand sacramental theology and how it relates to the created world of form and matter.

    http://www.amazon.com/Why-Matter-Matters-Philosophical-Reflections/dp/1931709343

  • savvy

    flyingvic,

    By the right words if you mean that transexual clergy, in the Episcopal church can call God mother, and Jesus his daughter, when consecrating the Eucharist, and then distribute it to Non-Christians.

    Guess what, far from valid, this is blasphemy against the most high God.

    So, take my advice and study sacramental theology.

    • flyingvic

      savvy, my friend, thank you for your concern about my education in sacramental theology. I’m sure I need to learn a great deal.

      What I mean by “the right words” in my comment is plain enough, I think, to anyone who has read “On this principle rests the doctrine that a Sacrament is truly conferred by the ministry of one who is a heretic or unbaptized, provided the Catholic rite be employed” in “Apostolicae Curae”. (Whether “heretic or unbaptised” includes your gender-challenged episcopalian giving the sacrament to Martian invaders, even if the Catholic rite be employed, must be open to question.)

      To spend, as Pope Leo does in his Bull, (such an apt title!) forty-one paragraphs of the most scrupulous, closely argued, delicately phrased and detailed verbiage to say, in effect, “We’re right and you’re wrong,” and then to insist that this is a judgement that must stand for all time, seems to be very far removed from the way that Christ wrote down the rules by which his church should be governed, don’t you think?

      • savvy

        I am not sure where you picked that up from. The minister has to be validly ordained. The unbaptized do not receive the sacraments.

        “Christ wrote down the rules by which his church should be governed, don’t you think?”

        Jesus made it clear in Matt: 16:18 and do the writings of the early church on the rites of the church and observing a single Eucharist.

        • flyingvic

          savvy, I ‘picked it up’ from a website called papalencyclicals.com – it is a direct quotation from Pope Leo’s offering from 1896.

          And oh dear! Matthew 16.18. Why is it that a church that despises fundamentalism and turns up its nose at ‘proof-texts’ continues to trot out a fragment of a verse from one of the Gospels and uses it to justify every claim from “We are the true church and you’re not” to papal infallibility?

      • savvy

        I will add a validly ordained male priest into the sacrificial/sacramental priesthood. The words are the words of Jesus in the Gospels.

      • savvy

        The body of Christ is one. So I don’t recall Jesus telling Peter, that he could hold xyz views on this, and then told Paul that he could hold xyz views on this.

        • flyingvic

          Beyond saying, “This is my body . . .” I don’t recall Jesus saying to anybody what their views should be on the sacrifice of the mass. That is something that the popes seem to have taken to themselves to tell people what their beliefs should be.

  • John Fisher

    With corrections. Never write late at night!

    Father I have every right to comment on this. My family are British. My family were once Anglican..my father still is or should I say lapsed as the majority of the Cof E are. My Grandfather was a royal servant and in the Guards.
    Henry VIII broke both his own coronation oath and Magna Carta which guaranteed the independence of the Catholic Church in England. All Anglicans do what Henry did. They twist and edit and self please. In the end personally and over 500 year we end up where we are now! Modern Anglicans are mutations… that result when a fault is introduced into the DNA of the Christian community. When it becomes inbred and broken by the State becoming a poodle or domestic pet. Generations of breeding and a limited blood pool and created the mutations of Christian life in England. To serve God or caesar… well those that are Cof E do not grasp that the Church is universal…nor provincial and bent to the interests of individuals with power. The C of E are like hermit crabs that live in the shells of the Catholic Church. They say look at our Catholic shell, but inside they are not members of an Universal Church. Christianity finds it hard in England to oppose the state. The Queen in theory claims power she does not possess. Parliament now full of everything but many Christians claims a juridiction it does not have. The Cof E bishops are appointed by prime ministers that are certainly not Christian. The various “houses” of synod are just fabrications. Protestantism is based upon a repudiation and when this is taken to its logical consequences the individual is exulted and everything repudiated according to personal whim. In the end all that remains is externals. Generally what morals do the Anglicans have? Clergy in civil unions, “divorcess”ordained and even animals like dogs are sometimes given communion. The only thing the C of E has is externals and a decor.
    So when the English think of the C of E recall that it was the Universal Church that built England not the C of E which brought dissension, confusion. provincialism and a mutated spineless type of something… called the C of E!
    The C Of E is also part of conceit. For it is more important to be English and belong to the national rather than wider Church. After all they are Frogs, wogs and deigos across the Channel. When we make foreigners C Of E we feel validated but actually confuse and spead the faulty DNA abroad. The C Of E will always bow to the status quo. It was founded to bend and compromise and it was cooerced by threats of death and destruction by King and parliament. Nothing has changed but the techniques of the method. Compromise of face social and legal punishment.

  • John Fisher

    The Anglican High Church vicar in the church right next to my house is a divorcee who has remmaried a catholic who has also been married before. They let a layman wear a dalmatic during services because it look s better with a deacon. They encourgage gay couples who patrol the congregation looking for males to invite over for a meal! The coversation usually about bathhouses and sexual exploits! The C Of E. The gospel of “niceness” covering corruption.

    • flyingvic

      One has to question how you come to have such intimate and detailed knowledge of the conversations taking place next door! Still, it must be very comforting to think that in the Roman Catholic Church there is no evidence of either corruption or sexual immorality. But do you do “niceness”?

      • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

        It is certainly true that we have corruption and sexual immorality in the Catholic Church, we’re also guilty of cover ups and sleight of hand in our marriage tribunals sometimes. What we don’t do though, is say sexual immorality is not sexual immorality. Isn’t that what the Anglican Church does when a man divorces his wife, marries his boyfriend and they make him a bishop?

        • flyingvic

          That happened in America, didn’t it?

      • John Fisher

        How, Because one of the perils of working in the small front garden of a house next to a High Anglican Church is people stop and say “hello”. How do I know he converstaion. Because I was invited to a meal by a gay coule. One an ordained minister inn the CofE. who assists in the church next door. I declined the invitation for a meal but despite warnings the person I share the house with did not! So a rather perplexed and confused Prebyterian returned from the meal with all sorts of questions .

  • John Fisher

    How? Because one of the perils of working in the small front garden of a house next to a High Anglican Church is people stop and say “hello”. How do I know he conversation. Because I was invited to a meal by a gay couple one of 3 or 4 who attend the theatrical C Of E.. Well its all so tasteful and arty! One an ordained minister in the CofE. who assists in the church next door. I declined the invitation for a meal but despite warnings the person I share the house with did not! So a rather perplexed and confused Prebyterian returned from the meal with all sorts of questions .

  • Julia

    My link was to a Catholic Encyclopedia, setting forth the history of the term “Roman Catholic”; it was not a dictionary.

    “The Church of Rome” and the “Holy Roman Church” are oceans different from the “Roman Catholic” Church, a term which is self-contradictory.

    The term Catholic Church was and is used to refer to all the churches of the world that are in Communion with the Bishop of Rome. Similar to “toute le monde”, as used by the French.

    We give Baptists the courtesy of using the term “Baptist” even though all Christians claim that they baptize. Same for “Evangelical” and “Apostolic” churches although other Christian groups also think they are evangelizers and get authority one way or the other from the Apostles. Why single out Catholics as the one group that is not allowed to name itself?

    • flyingvic

      Perhaps because it’s a name that all the others don’t accept as being the prerogative of just one? Those Anglicans, for example, (and despite what Father says,) who do regard themselves as Catholic but not as Roman Catholic.

      If one group insisted on calling itself “The Christian Church”, as if no other group could possibly be described in that way, might find some opposition amongst the others, don’t you think? And there are those who seem to regard “Catholic” and “Christian” as being interchangeable . . .

      • savvy

        Flying Vic,

        Ignatius of Antioch used the term Catholic to distinguish between Apostolic Christians and other groups.

        The Orthodox can safely be called Catholic, because of the preserving of the priesthood and the sacraments.

        The same cannot be said for the C of E that cannot make up it’s mind about anything or that plays with the Apostolic faith, to suit their personal tastes.

      • savvy

        I do however, sincerely hope that the Anglican communion will recover and regain its commitment to the Apostolic faith, since the break-away groups are the only ones who seem to do so.

  • Episcopal Refugee

    Hmm, how curious – Following my confirmation into the Catholic Church on Holy Saturday, I received a very nice certificate that states I “was received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church . . . ” – embossed seal and all!


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