Saturday, November 21, 2009

What do Anglicans belief?

I am rather annoyed with Dr Rowan Williams after his "challenging" speech in Rome. "Petulant" is the first word that comes to mind, closely followed by "vacuous", "arrogant" is also hanging around somewhere.
I am left wondering quite what is his particular creed, and moreover what exactly does the Anglican Communion believe.  An Italian friend of mine who was at the lecture said, what was so apparent is that Williams believes nothing we Catholics recognise as belief.
The Thirty-nine articles, the Homilies have long been a dead letter, in the C of E. The Creeds might well be believed by some individuals but when one remembers Don Cuppit and, who is that Scottish bishop, who spends his retirement suggesting we created God in our image, whose name I can't remember? even belief in God and the Creeds are obviously not binding.
The only binding doctrine, now seems to be, "We believe in the ordination of women". Has this now become the substantive defining doctrine of the Anglican Communion?

My Italian friend was left wondering, after Williams, whether Anglicans were actually capable of using words that contained meaning, rather than a means of social interaction. In the light, or perhaps fog, of Williams' speech, what was ARCIC actually about, he asked.

22 comments:

gemoftheocean said...

It's been going on a lot longer than believing in women priests. I'd say they went south ever since Henry took over or Edward VI at least, and the belief in the Real Presence seems "optional."

They haven't quite gone as far as the Unitarian/Universalists, or whatever they call themselves these days -- in that case belief in God is optional.

JARay said...

"My Italian friend was left wondering....what was ARCIC all about"?
Good question!
JARay

Michael Petek said...

I remember reading "The Durham Affair" by Bill (now Father Athanasios) Ledwich, who was a C of E vicar. He entered the Greek Orthodox Church after David Jenkins was consecrated as the Bishop of Durham.

He said that the one indispensable thing you have to subscribe to in Anglicanism is comprehensiveness, as much as you must believe in Papal infallibility if you are to be a Catholic.

Ledwich commented that you can become or remain an Anglican if you believe in the Virgin Birth and bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ, though it is clear that you may become a bishop if you do not.

motuproprio said...

I gather that the format of this lecture allowed no opportunity for questions, let alone the 'dialogue' so beloved of ecumaniacs. Even more worrying were the sage nods of agreement from Cardinal Kasper who epitomises the sad fate of most heads of his dicastery, that they come to think of their role as commending protestantism to Catholics rather than explaining Catholicism to protestants.

Steven said...

It should not be a surprise to us that Williams argues like a Protestant. He is one. He is attempting to hold together something that has no genuine foundation in catholic belief or practice, in spite of some people attempt to tell it is does have. “The Church that weds the spirit of this age will always find herself a widow in the next”.

dominic said...

Agreed on all points.

Richard Holloway (emiritus episcopalian/Anglican Bishop of Edinburgh) is almost certainly the name that you couldn't recall.

Michael Petek said...

The Protestant Truth Society identified the issues perfectly when it asked the questions:

(1) Where is the Church?

(2) What is revealed?

We can answer Question (1) in favour of the Bishop of Rome provided that we have first answered Question (2) in favour of the common Catholic/Eastern Orthodox faith concerning the Eucharist.

Once we have given the right answer to Question (2) then we can answer Question (3): Why not Eastern Orthodoxy?

To which Father Brian Harrison has given an unassailable answer here:

http://rtforum.org/lt/index.html

At No. 133, January 2008

So, the questions for Dr Williams are these:

What do you say the Eucharist is?

If you don't like the answer, would you also like to leave? (Cf. John 6).

Father Gareth Jones said...

The trouble is, that on the whole, Anglican's don't know what Anglians believe anymore, and this is why we are in the mess we are in. The Archbishop's various addresses in Rome have received a less than favourable reception by many anglo catholics, who are left wondering how on earth we can remain in communion with the See of Canterbury under such circumstances. Cardinal Kaspers comments privately to one of my number last year, 'when we talk to Anglicans we dont know who we are talking to', is apposite and surely is the thinking behind the dialogue that has taken place with anglo catholic bishops, at least in talking to a particular group with whom common identity can be established. Then the Vatican does know who it's talking to. The practical conclusion of this is of course the establishment of the Ordinariates. Do anglo catholics feel represented by their Archbishop...? I'll leave you to work out that question - in the meantime, I can make no apologies for the Archbishop, I can only say that I agree with your sentiments. Pray for us, please, pray for us...

The Cellarer said...

The Bishop sounds like Richard Holloway to me as well. I won't print what a Catholic priest, who often had to listen to his dubious wisdom at 'weak tea' events, as you call them, referred to him as, but it wasn't complimentary!

He was Bishop when I was still a 'piskie in Edinburgh and came for confirmations. He seems a genuinely decent bloke, but got the impression from that and a book of his at the time he didn't have any firm beliefs anymore, after his retiral his writings and talks certainly went that way.

Jason Do said...

good article, in the future hope to see more blogs like this one

becket said...

I think now we need to seriously start thinking about how we will identify Anglicans. We will essentially have three groups of Anglicans. Anglicans who are in communion with Rome (will we begin to call them just Anglo Catholics, or Anglican Catholics), Anglicans who are in communion with Canterbury (will we now just call them Protestant Anglicans, or Liberal Anglicans), and finally Evangelical Anglicans (will we call them also Protestant Anglicans, or just Evangelical Anglicans). We can no longer just say Anglicans, like we do Catholics.

GOR said...

Motuproprio, and others, have pointed to Cdl. Kasper reportedly nodding frequently during Ab. Williams address. The conclusion most people draw from this is that his ‘nodding’ indicated agreement with what Rowan was saying. And perhaps it did. Or perhaps he was just ‘nodding off’…? Some of Rowan’s circumlocutions have a tendency to produce that effect – even just reading them.

But if Kasper was indicating agreement, then perhaps we are seeing what the Holy Father has decried in the Ecumenism of the past 40 years. When the movement gathered steam post Vat II, I had some reservations. I knew what the end was, but I wasn’t so sure about the means to it. All very well to be warm, friendly and considerate – and we were perhaps deficient in this in times gone by (the ‘triumphalism’ we’re so frequently accused of) – but at the end of the day what would be the result? Or as we like to say in secular matters: how would ‘success’ be defined? What was the end game?

Now, growing up in the Faith things were always pretty much black and white to me when it came to heresy or schism. In the Catholic Church we have the fullness of truth, and the Church is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit not to fall into error regarding Doctrine. We have the Truth and the Truth has not - and will not - change. So if anyone in a heretical or schismatic sect wishes full unity with the Catholic Church he or she, through God’s grace, is going to have to assent to that Faith in its fullness, or they “remain in their error”. No ifs, ands or buts. Sorry folks, but that’s the way it is and all the talk in the world is not going to change that.

So, what was there to discuss? It was said we should concentrate on what we agree upon (the positive approach). That was fine. A better understanding of where we were in tune could lead to a clearer understanding of where we were not. And once it was understood how close we might be in many things, maybe it would lead to a resolution of the things that divided us. Back then the latter were weighty matters: matters like the Real Presence, Sacraments (especially, but not exclusively, Holy Orders), Sacrifice of the Mass, the Primacy of the Pope, Papal Infallibility etc. Women in Orders wasn’t even on the radar 40 years ago (or for 2000 years…) for most people.

So, what went wrong? How did we get from there to here? Did we give the wrong impression? Did they think that somehow the Catholic Church would “change Her mind” – meaning change Her Doctrine – and were they led to believe that? In the effort to be ‘nice’ did our representatives sell out the Church by glossing over or watering down the Faith? If the interpretation of Kasper’s cranial conniptions is accurate, it would appear so.

If that is the case our ecumenical ‘experts’ have let them down – and worse still, have let the Church down.

Malcolm Kemp said...

I agree with Fr. Gareth, above. One of the problems with the C-of-E is that everybody believes something different according to personal choice and in many churches (notably middle-class churches with middle of the road liturgy) the laity - who have not studied theology full time at a college - see it as their duty to tell their clergy (who have so studied) what they should believe and do.

All Anglican clergy and (I think) Lay Readers have to take an oath which includes believing in the 39 Articles of Religion as printed in the Book of Common Prayer. I know only one person (a local Anglican layman) who claims to believe them. Everyone else seems to think -rightly IMHO - that they are nonsense.

That is the big, over-riding problem with Anglicanism, the amateur laity dictate to the profesional clergy and belief is a bottom up exercise rather than a top down exercise if I can put it that way. Anglicans tell the church what to believe, your church tells the people what to believe. The Church of England signed its own death warrant when it introduced synodical government and nerly all its current problems - spiritual, liturgical, financial and administrative date from that time.

Keep your doors open for us, please!

John Martyn said...

One statement of what Anglicans believe would be that Christians should worship God,try to follow the Gospel, and be willing to be open minded - or at least tolerate the open mindedness of others - about other religious matters.
This approach seems attractive to unbelievers, as witness the recent piece by Richard Dawkins in the Washington Post.

Moretben said...

To which Father Brian Harrison has given an unassailable answer


...demonstrating unassailably that the Orthodox are not Roman Catholics - something that even the admirable Fr Harrison seems quite unable to grasp.

Sadie Vacantist said...

Malcolm Kemp ~ I'm afraid you are describing the average Catholic parish! The only difference is that our laity are common and dim. Welcome to our World!

Father Gareth Jones said...

Malcolm: I would want to clarify your point about anglican clergy having to swear on oath that we beleive in te 39 Articles of Religion. It is not quite the case, we simply have to 'assent' to them - something quite different!! Fr Gareth

pelerin said...

I am intrigued by Father Gareth Jones comment that to assent to something is quite different from believing something. Having looked up the meaning of 'assent'I find the following:-
'Assented - gave acceptance to the truth of a doctrine.' Is this not believing?

Becket mentions that in future we will have three different forms of Anglicanism. I know nothing about Evangelical Anglicanism - perhaps it evolved long after I left the Anglican Church. However as far as I am aware there have always been two very different forms of Anglicanism - the High Church and the Low Church whose services were very different from each other. One chose ones church by the kind of service one preferred and whether or not you approved of the vicar. In fact a bit like 'parish hopping' today!

Roberto said...

what do you expect for a layman claiming to be Archbishop of Canterbury. protestantism all over again. Anglican does not believe in transubtantion, dogma of Immaculate Conceptiion, Papacy and other important catholic dogmas that anglican does not believe or adhered to. They are not priest according the the Aposotlic Curae of Pope Leo XIII that Anglican order are NULL AND VOID.

Richard said...

Didn't Coleridge say that the purpose of the CofE was to provide "a resident gentleman in every parish"?

Crux Fidelis said...

Richard Holloway is a charlatan. He says that in his latter days as Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church he ceased to believe - but he kept on taking the stipend.

Father Gareth Jones said...

For those interested, the wording of the Declaration of Assent is as follows. Anglo Catholics would regard the 39 Articles much the same as Cardinal Newman did, and would suggest that with interpretation, they are a wholly 'catholic' set of articles.

Rather amusingly, anglo catholics have traditionally worn cassocks with 39 buttons on them, each representing an Article of Faith. The number of buttons the priest leaves undone, represents the number of articles he finds hard to swallow - so if you ever see one of these strange breeds of anglican cleric - check his cassock out!!!

The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons. In the declaration you are about to make, will you affirm your loyalty to this inheritance of faith as your inspiration and guidance under God in bringing the grace and truth of Christ to this generation and making Him known to those in your care?

Declaration of Assent

I, A B, do so affirm, and accordingly declare my belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness; and in public prayer and administration of the sacraments, I will use only the forms of service which are authorized or allowed by Canon.