The Only Faithful Response

Someone I know was "gotten to". A friend who was in full support of the Ordinariate just a few months ago is now vehemently against it. It is not because of any shocking piece of new information that he discovered while reading through secret Vatican documents (nothing so dramatic as that). Rather, it is because–as he told me–he spoke to a "continuing Anglican" priest who told him that Rome's real motivation is to bring us under their thumb and then play the "old switcheroo" and force us to give up the Anglican liturgy. Once he "realized" that this was "going to" happen, he stepped back and changed his position.

Aside from the fact that this is a grave misunderstanding of the circumstances (Rome has bigger fish to fry than getting former Anglicans to use the Roman Missal), we have to ask ourselves if this is even a properly balanced concern. True, Rome can change the liturgy and make some people upset, but it is not as though the Anglican Churches have never had to worry about this. Episcopalians know very well what happened with the Book of Common Prayer in 1979, but does further division solve this problem? Division breeds division and the rejection of the papacy is now reaping what was sown. If you bake a cake and it comes out tasting like dog food, it will not solve the problem to throw away the cake and use the exact same recipe a second time (or a third, fourth, or fifth time). As one Anglican clergyman said to me just the other day, "communion with Rome is the only faithful response at this time in the history of Anglicanism".

Anglicanism is at a crossroads, and the status quo is not a viable alternative at this time; something must change. To continue on in the same pattern of, "divide, degenerate, debate, divide, degenerate, debate (ad nauseam)", will not solve anything. As Anglicans, many of us realized some time ago (some more than others) that we really need the Catholic Church. Without her we are only going to perpetuate the dysfunctional habits that have become a part of the ecclesiastical descendants of Cranmer. C.S. Lewis once had Aslan the Lion lament, “O, son of Adam, how cleverly you defend yourself against all that will do you good.” Reunion with Holy Mother Church will do us good. It may bring persecution as well, but then faithfulness to God always does. Moving into the unknown is certainly a concern for many, but the Lord never promises that we will be able to stay in our comfort zones.

I know of people who have chosen not to join the Ordinariate because they do not want to have to go through a marriage annulment. Another person I know said outright that he does not want the Ordinariate because he does not want to have to submit to the Pope. One man said that it may be right for me, but it is not right for him (!). Mistaken and confused ideas about who and what the Catholic Church is are not in a shortage right now. Those who decide not to join will have different reasons for doing so, and I am not about to stand in judgment on their inner motivations. Yet, coming into communion with the Catholic Church should not be done because we believe that we are going to get what we want. If one's own selfish desires are first in his thought process, then he is not thinking in a godly manner. I (and others) have said this before, but it appears like it needs to be repeated.

I also know of Anglican clergy whose primary motivation for joining the Ordinariate is so that they can find a place where no one is going to try to ordain women to holy orders. Aside from the importance of this concern, this is not a proper rationale for entering into this process. The wrong expectations will always lead to disappointment. How we approach new ventures in life will greatly determine how we respond to the challenges that those new ventures bring upon us. I fully expect that our entrance into communion with the Holy See is going to be a blessed and joyful event. That does not mean, however, that I think that it will be all "wine and roses". Faithfulness to Christ always entails trials, and persecutions will undoubtedly come upon those who wish to serve God with deep commitment. There were many who joined the Church in the first century, but not all of them remained within her fold when the trials arose.

A Catholic lady said to me a while ago, "I don't care what liturgy you use, or whether you are traditional or not, I'm just happy that you are going to be at the altar with us". Her heart reveals the same humility that should be evident in us: joyful for the blessings of God and not murmuring about anything that disappoints (cf. Philippians 2:14-15). My friend that I mentioned at the beginning was led astray and I pray for him that he will come back to the truth. What becomes more difficult is when someone is led astray and yet is still seeking to join the Ordinariate. We all come with the "baggage" of our sins–I have mine and you have yours–but we should be coming with humble hearts that trust God to give us what we need more than what we want (for they are not always the same thing).

To all my brothers and sisters who are getting ready for the establishment of the Ordinariate here in America, I encourage you during this Advent season to use it as preparatory, not just for the proper celebration of the Christmas season, but also for the proper celebration of our entrance into the Ordinariate. Prepare your hearts for obedience; not just obedience to those things that you like, but also obedience to the things that make you uncomfortable. If we only obey the things that we are comfortable with, then can we say we are truly submitting to our leaders? Jesus likes to force us out of our comfort zones, and if you are coming to the Ordinariate in order to find your comfort zone, then you misunderstand how the Church works. Challenges and sacrifices will be in the future, and we are called to rejoice in the midst of them. Yet, we will not be able to rejoice properly if our hearts are not right, and for that we need preparation. The preparation of Advent (as well as the coming Lenten season) is an ideal time to offer "our selves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto" God our Father.

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41 thoughts on “The Only Faithful Response

  1. I cannot speak for TEC but the doctrine of the Church of England is contained in the 39 articles and the Book of Common Prayer. True Anglicans will not be interested in the Ordinariate as they have to put aside their own beliefs to submit to RC doctrine. The 39 articles in particular are in opposition to Roman doctrine and these are what I believe, therefore I cannot join Rome. Those who have moved to Rome are those who didn't agree with the 39 articles but believed in Roman doctrine whilst accepting a stipend from a church that was based on these articles and the Book of Common Prayer. Most of them used the Roman Missal anyway.

    1. I'm always shocked how people who are so opposed to Papal Infallibility assign a quasi-infallible status to some sort of confessional document – something written by one particular denomination, at a particular point in time – acting as though it were practically on the same level as the Creeds. Like the law of the Medes and Persians, it cannot be changed.

    2. J.M.J.

      Fr. Michael wrote:

      "…as they have to put aside their own beliefs to submit to RC doctrine…"

      I suppose this is an excellent point as you have written it – is the faith about our personal beliefs or what The Church teaches?

      What is The Church? For those heading to the Ordinariate, number 816 of the Catechism of The Catholic Church contains the answer to the question what is The Church. For others, I suppose it is as they personally choose to define it.

      SWR

  2. Thank you, Father, for expressing so eloquently and so well the same thoughts that have been running through my own heart and mind lately. We might appropriately paraphrase a prayer before receiving communion which asks the Lord to deliver us "from the presumption of coming into the Church for solace and not for strength." When we seek only refuge and solace and the diet of our own choosing, we risk having our hearts grow fat and even die. God will not have this, and neither should we.

  3. I have seen the same reasons why many Anglicans don't want to join the Ordinariate. It appears that many have followed a man and not been led by the Holy Spirit. When their leader/s change their hearts and minds regarding the Ordinariate these followers continue to be led by a man and not truth. Maybe they never really understood what it means to enter into communion with the Church.

    Personally I shall rely on what has happened within the Anglican Use parishes as far as liturgy, yes there are areas that some would like to be revised, however, it is still very much an Anglilcan liturgy and Rome has not forced the Roman Rite on these parishes after 28 years. The Ordinariate has much stronger guidelines to protect the Anglican Patrimony than did the Pastoral Provision.

    All must truely accept the beliefs of the Catholic Church before entering it and not expect that the members are flawless and everything will come up "roses", this is not what Christ promised his followers.

    It is never too late for those who have not felt led to the Ordinariate at this time. The Ordinariate is for all time for all Anglicans who decide this is the path that God has led them to.

  4. I see I should make it very clear that the "Father" to whom I addressed my thanks is Father Chori. Fr Michael and I would probably differ both on the status and the interpretation of the Articles. As to the former, it is inapplicable to many of us, since so far as I can determine neither the ACA nor the APCK, nor for that matter TEC – in all of which I have served – has ever claimed a status for the Articles equivalent to that which they nominally have had in the C of E, so his charge of disingenuousness is misplaced.

    1. I specifically said that my comments only applied to the Church of England. When I was ordained I had to assent to the 39 articles and read them in church on my first Sunday. They are not nominal, although some Anglicans who hold RC beliefs might like to think so.

  5. The man who is concerned about Rome allegedly wanting to change the Anglican liturgy appears to have forgotten that there are about 22 rites in the Catholic Church beyond the Roman Rite. Rome has not attempted to force them to use the Roman Missal. Why would it bother with the Anglican ordinariates? The ordinariates will be using an Anglican style liturgy already approved by Rome. If I'm not mistaken, Cardinal Levada recently compared the ordinariate structure and liturgy to the Ambrosian Rite. That should be an indication of how Rome will treat the ordinariates. No, this sounds like an excuse to me. My guess is he has cold feet. Let's give the ordinariates five years to grow and develop, then check back and see if this man's tune has changed.

    1. Shane, dude! What's happened with your websites? Have you given up on the Saint Augustine of Canterbury Group? The 'Emerging Ordinariate' map is falling apart i.e. several sites no longer work. No more FB account. ???????????????????

  6. In 2002 after Gene Robinson was consecrated a bishop and later on Ms. Shiori put on her mitre. A few facts, which may cause some concern and consternation; Mr. Robinson is not the first gay clergyperson in the Episcopal or RC church; I'm sure we will have a few in the Ordinariate. The issue is celibacy, vows and orthodoxy. Mr. Robinson broke all three. Ms. Shiori is simply a heretic in her beliefs (according to her Jesus is not the only way to salvation and is not the son of God). It was this disregard for 2000 years of orthodoxy that caused me to leave the ECUSA in 2002 (I'm sure others left for similar reasons). For 4 years I prayed and looked for a church home. In 2005 a catholic K-8 school opened in our neighborhood and we transferred our children there. In 2006 I discovered the Pastoral Provision. The next day I went to mass and have not left. I concluded that the Pope is not going to wake up one day to a bunch of bishops knocking on his door saying that they have decided that the church should change direction. I also concluded that the Pope was not going to wake up one day and change 2000 years of tradition and orthodoxy on his own. It is nice to know that the ship will stay the course. Finally, for those concerned about various things of Popery, just remember, the Orthodox are considered a sister church. The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church will have to come to terms on many things, particularly the Bishop of Rome. As Metropolitan Kalistos Ware has said on numerous occasions; "It is precisely the relationship of the Bishop of Rome to all the other bishops that is at issue." I look forward to seeing this relationship unfold. To the doubters I ask; is God so small that you cannot trust Him to bring about His eternal good in the Ordinariate and other means in his Church?

  7. Matthew, the new website for St. Augustine of Canterbury Society is http://www.anglo-catholics.net

    I had a little run in with the "Anglican Catholic Church" incorporated, who's lawyer informed me that if I didn't want any trouble I needed to drop the "anglicancatholics.com" URL and the anglicancatholics.blogspot.com website. Apparently they are claiming a legal service mark on the terms "Anglican Catholic" and "Anglican Catholics" so nobody else can use them — not even as a URL or in passing reference to our groups. At least thats the impression I got. Any questions about this should be directed toward their lawyers, as I am thoroughly disgusted with the politics and will no longer use the term in reference to us ever again.

    As for the map, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to maintain, as some groups change their websites and other contact information frequently. I am rarely contacted when a group is dissolved as well. I had contemplated a compete overhaul, but seeing as we are so close to the formation of the US ordinariate, the map will become obsolete very soon anyway. Once the ordinariate website is up and running, it will have links to various parishes and deaneries. If the Ordinary should want to utilise my skills at that point, I volunteer them free of charge, at which point the whole map will have to be rebooted from scratch, but at least then I will have some official information to work with.

    St. Augustine of Canterbury Society is still in existence and we continue to persevere in prayer. We have doubled our number in the last few months. However we will need a priest ASAP as soon as one is available once the ordinariate is formed or else we run the risk of stagnation and breakup. I imagine many other AU prayer groups are in a similar situation. So that's the latest. I haven't dropped off the earth yet. We are still hanging on here in the Ozarks.

    1. Shane,

      I would assume that there are several priests coming into the Ordinariate without parishes or groups. Maybe after the Ordinariate is erected there will be a way to contact one of them and ask if they are interested in being St. Augustine's priest.

      It will take some time to get everything sorted out so encourage your group to be patient.

    2. Dear Shane: Thank you for your work. I use to have look into the ordinariate map once per week, as I think many many people does

    3. Registering certain names for exclusive use might prove to be more cumbersome than just being told to lay off!!!!
      When the statutory advertisement giving notice of the intent is placed in the public domain, objections could be lodged with the appropriate registering authorities.
      If, however, no objections are received from interested parties, well, then it is a different kettle of fish….

    4. Shane-
      Thank you for putting my mind at ease. You have done an outstanding job thus far and I was worried that something had happened (other than this 'political' nonsense; I'm surprised they aren't saying no one can use the term 'Anglican' because they own it!).
      Very nice new website, thank you for it.

      Be Well!

  8. "He is wisest, who only gives,
    True to himself, the best he can:
    Who drifting on the winds of praise,
    The inward monitor obeys.
    And with the boldness that confuses fear
    Takes in the crowded sail, and lets his conscience steer."
    John Whittier (1807 – 1892)

  9. An excellent post, Father Seraiah. It's a shame when folks get so wrapped up in their selfish ideas about what the Church is…gestures, "Articles," prayer books, and expectations, etc. etc. but so empty and deprived of any sense of dignity, lacking leadership and catholic order.
    Today I was surprised to talk to some "continuers" who phoned me up. It seems he is supply priesting for a small congregation about 85 miles away, and trying to start up a mission near me. The story sounds familiar. Their group couldn't seem to get along with the other groups in an 80 mile radius, and so…
    you know, someone was "too headstrong about the liturgy," or something like that! (Unfortunately, they are operating in their sixth or seventh different jurisdiction in the last several years) They knew in advance, of course, about many of us who have come to RCism. When I told them of our journey to Rome, and how we were nurtured by our Pastor and Parish, the conversation turned, strangely, as if I would have something odd to say about our new situation. All I could do is tell them how we found our spiritual home in Rome, and how gracious and wonderful is our God. Rather abruptly, the call came to a close.

    1. Maybe this is an incorrect assumption on my part, but through life I have found that some people enjoy conflict, it seems to stimulate them from a boring life.

      Although there will always be differences of opinions within any parish, I have found that the Catholic Church has given me peace that I didn't know within TEC. One can always attend another parish if they aren't content and not have to worry in most areas that they will have to drive for an hour or two to get there. This is a problem in the continuing groups as there are few of the same particular group available, whereas Catholics can always find a parish that holds the same faith.

      1. My experience tells me that this is not an incorrect assumption at all. To borrow the phrase of a colleague, there are some people who are "in it for the fight."

        In its psycho-physical aspect, it is a form of anger addiction, in which the adrenal rush becomes the real objective. Pointing this out almost invariably provokes more anger, with the attendant rush. At its worst, its effects resemble those of a homicide bomber – the destruction of self and others.

        From the spiritual aspect, what we are probably dealing with in this phenomenon is, at bottom, a manifestation of akedia / acedia/ accidie. The payoff of this sort of behavior is that the subject gets to avoid dealing with God because he is giving priority, not to the Church as she is, but to finding the instantiaion of his always-just-out-of-reach idea of what she should be.

        If they do not repent and accept healing, when such souls enter Catholic communion, they are at risk of becoming some variety of schismatic — usually of the "more Catholic than the Pope" variety.

  10. Obviously it is a personal decision as to whether under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, someone feels that the Ordinariate is the place where s/he can and must continue his/her Christian discipleship. But, to cut to the quick, as Catholic doctrine teaches that it is a grave sin to purport to repeat the sacrament of ordination, how can (re)ordained Ordinariate clergy assert that they haven't had to deny the validity of their Anglican Orders and their previous sacramental acts, when, by submitting to reordination, that is precisely what they are doing?

    1. Fr. Edward,

      One tires of having to answer this hoary old charge again and again. It always mystifies me that critics of the Church's position on this issue seem to claim to know Catholic ecclesiology and systematic theology better than Rome does. At the risk of again wasting valuable pixels, and assuming you are raising the issue in good faith…

      The Catholic Church does not "deny" the validity of Anglican orders. It merely finds itself unable to affirm their validity for a number of historical and theological reasons. Since the validity of Anglican orders cannot be affirmed by the broader Church, they must be treated (by Catholics) as null and void (in almost all cases) because ambiguity regarding the validity of sacraments is ecclesiologically intolerable.

      Anglican polemicists (understandably perhaps) prefer to characterize the Catholic position differently (as you, perhaps unwittingly, have here done).

      Catholics (whether of Anglican origin or not) are perfectly free to believe in the validity of Anglican orders, if this is where their conscience and understanding lead them. No one has ever been declared a heretic for belief in the validity of Anglican orders per se. What Catholics cannot do is act on such a belief since it is not shared by the broader Church.

      Thus, IF Anglican orders are objectively valid in the eyes of God, ordination of reconciled Anglican clergy becomes merely a recognitio by the Church and not "the grave sin" you claim it to be.

      And if you are nevertheless tempted to see this issue as a pure product of Reformation-era animus, note that Anglican clergy reconciling with Eastern Orthodoxy also have to be ordained if they wish to continue their ministry.

      A further wrinkle is sometimes raised as to why former Anglican clergy are not ordained "conditionally." A very small number are, but it requires immense paperwork and research to establish an unbroken chain of apostolic succession in which every link believed in and intended to convey a sacrificial priesthood. Given the theological diversity found in Anglicanism on this issue and the deliberate occlusion of any reference to a sacrificial priesthood in the Edwardian ordinal, this is not a test many Anglican ordinations could pass, whatever the actual beliefs of those currently in orders. As such the default presumption is one of invalidity. Conditional ordination is reserved solely for those cases in which validity is presumed, but for which a scrupulous doubt nevertheless exists.

        1. "Thus, IF Anglican orders are objectively valid in the eyes of God, ordination of reconciled Anglican clergy becomes merely a recognitio by the Church and not "the grave sin" you claim it to be". But that is surely the precise point. I am pleased that none of the ex-Anglican clergy who have joined the Ordiniarate that I have come across have sought either to vilify those who have stayed, or to deny their own Anglican Orders, but is there anything in the Roman Catholic Ordination rites to permit the interpretation that they are merely a recognitio and not an absolute ordination? I doubt it, but would be more than happy for someone to quote chapter and verse to me.

          1. Fr. Edward,

            You probably won't find any documentary confirmation because there is no reason for the Church to go there. Show us even one former Anglican who was ever asked to "renounce" his Anglican "orders" as a condition for Catholic ordination. The problem only exists in the minds of Anglican critics of Roman practice.

            My suspicion is that you are confusing objective validity, which only God can know, with recognized validity which is all the Church can offer. The "grave sin" you allude to relates to the repetition of an ordination that the Church already recognizes as valid. As the Church doesn't recognize any Anglican orders as valid, no sin is involved in ordaining former Anglican clergy.

            As the sacrament CANNOT objectively be conferred twice, all the Catholic "ordination" would amount to in the (hypothetical) case of objective validity would be recognitio, not sin.

            The scepticism you feel is not new, but you should ask yourself whether the Church knows what it thinks it is doing when it ordains Anglican clergy without asking them to renounce their previous "orders" . Your starting assumption seems to be either that the Church doesn't know what it is doing, or that some sort of renunciation must somehow be implicit (whereas renunciation, by definition, is an explicit act).

    2. Dear Father,
      There are a number of answers to that.

      First of all, even if Anglican Orders are not recognised as Catholic Orders by the Church that does not mean that they are meaningless or worthless.

      Secondly, there can be no doubts about the validity of a man's Orders as Catholic Orders, therefore, consistently with its public judgments on the matters and most importantly for the good of the faithful the Church has asked Anglican clergy being received to submit to Ordination.

      As a matter of sacramental fact, a man can only be ordained priest once and you are right that (ordinarily) to purport to re-ordain a man would be sacrilege. But it cannot be sacrilege to do as the Church requests.

      The Church could have done it a different way – She could have been so convinced by what has happened subsequently in the Anglican communion (Dutch touch etc.) so as to legislate that conditional Ordination should be the norm.

      Perhaps there is an argument for that – but think of the consequences – that would mean a separated Communion full of potentially validly ordained Catholic priests doing all sorts of things the Church does not condone. Furthermore She would appear to be going back on Apostolicae curae, which is just not how it works.

      So, since the Church has required Ordination tout court – what do you do? It is a question of what is more important to you – your own conception of your own Orders, or full, visible communion with the Holy See? I would argue that to submit to Ordination in these circumstances demonstrates sincere humility and charity on the part of Anglican clergy. Having witnessed it first hand, it is a beautiful and humbling thing to behold.

  11. As an RC I find all this bickering very confusing. Most Catholics will not be impacted by Anglicans who decide to join the Ordinariate. In fact many of them don't know about it at all.

    I would welcome anyone who comes to Rome because they love who we are rather than because they hate what they are leaving behind.

  12. Fr. Chori,
    Thank you once again for a very thoughtful post. I have always enjoyed your postings to the AngloCatholic and have found them challenging for me in a good way. Many blessings Father. Our prayers are with you and your family in the Christmas season.
    god bless,
    Fr. Dennis

  13. I agree with what you say, Fr. Chori, but let me (as a long-time RC) for a moment play Devil's Advocate. Diversity is essential to the catholicity of the Church. If we as Catholics fail to witness to and find place for legitimate diversity, then we fail to give witness to the catholicity of our church. If people then decide that she is not catholic, and thus do not enter into communion with her, whose fault is it?

    1. Mike,

      I am assuming by your phrase "she is not catholic" that you mean "the Catholic Church is not properly practicing catholicity" (please let me know if that is wrong). If that is what you mean, then I cannot easily answer "whose fault" because it is found in both parties. Catholics are at fault if they misrepresent the Church, and non-Catholics are at fault if they do not search more deeply to determine the truth (as I confess to having done for years). My hope and prayer is that the Ordinariates–and the welcoming response already coming from non-ordinariate Catholics–will be a prime example of the proper catholicity of the Catholic Church.

      1. I certainly believe that she is catholic, but my point was that there are others who do not, and that my fellow Catholics have given them cause for thinking so. My point in this matter was that we should be hesitant to blame and judge those who who have not entered the church for not doing so, but first we should examine ourselves and see in what ways we have failed to give proper witness to the church and what she is and the Lord whom she confesses. I am of course speaking primarily of myself and my fellow Catholics, who are sometimes ready to judge non-Catholics for not being so, while being unwilling to face it when their own souls and houses are less than fit witnesses. (I should add that I accuse myself personally, as I have myself personally fallen into this trap.) Of course all such judgement really belongs to Christ, who knows even our own hearts better than we ourselves do.

  14. If we only obey the things that we are comfortable with, then can we say we are truly submitting to our leaders?

    Exactly.

    "Where is the reward in that? Do not the unbelievers do the same?"

  15. The point made about the 39 articles is important in so far as Anglican 'patrimony' is concerned. As far as the Church of England is concerned, the articles have largely been air-brushed out of consciousness because, although assent is required, clergymen have not read themselves in at inductions for a long time. I think it is only strict Evangelicals who take them seriously. Yet they are an integral part of Anglican identity which cannot easily be side-stepped.

    The problem with 'patrimony' and 'identity' is that what is found today is almost entirely the result of the Oxford Movement in the c19; the Church of England known by Wesley and Jane Austen has not existed since this development took control of the national Church. With the exception of a polite glance at the Caroline divines, the inherent Protestantism of the Church of England since its foundation is either forgotten or ignored. The Oxford Movement moving on to Anglo-Catholicism were man-made, self-authenticating traditions entirely parasitic in origin and practise. This phenomenon is difficult for Rome to understand and I sometimes wonder if the Holy Father was misled by special-pleading and rhetoric in the discussions that led to the promulgation of Anglicanorum Caetibus. Currently it is experiencing a bumpy ride in England, reinforced by disappointmentthat fewer than expected joined. Cf an article citing Mgr Burnham in last week's Tablet.

    German and Swedish Lutheranism retained the externals of Catholicism far more faithfully than the Church of England yet what evolved was little better than a husk. Rich externals have only been available for 160 years at most and got off to a shaky start.

    1. German lutheranism with Catholic trappings? No sir: bare communion table, black cassock with a white collar , that's all… Perhaps you will find more ritualism in the French Lutheran Church, with some clergy wearing alb & stole and putting a single candle on the communion table. I have even seen once one with a chasuble!

      +PAX et BONUM

      1. FWIW, some lutheran churches have appareantly kept most or all of their pre-reformation ornaments (the st.lorenzkirche in nurenberg for example) along with a prominent crucifix above the altar. other parts of germany show a lutheranism more affected by calvinistic influences. OTOH, sweden has alos carried over many of the "outwerd signs" of catholicism in vestments and church decorations and i believe still calls their services "the mass"—of course, as dr. Tighe has pointed out in other posts, the underlying theology is lutheran traditionally and very liberal in most sectors today.

        1. That's precisely the point I was making, Georgeinbandon. I have visited many medieval Luthern churches within the vicinity of Nuremburg and have rejoined in their magnificent pre-Reformation furniture. The same applies to Sweden which has some of the most magnificent and least spoilt pre-Reformaiton churches in Northern Europe. In the case of Germany, patrician riches protected the churches. While in Sweden the king of the period wanted Lutheran reform but would not allow the churches to changed so that few knew that a difference had occurred. Rum!

          I know nothing of French Lutheranism.

          1. Well, you should, they have a very interesting history. Because most protestants here are Cavinists, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in France has tried to kept its specificity, that is a high theology of Priesthood, the Church, and the Eucharist. They don't have problems with calling the Eucharist the Mass, wearing vestments (in most cases a stole, sometimes a chasuble), make use of liturgical colors… And this is not, like in Anglicanism or Scandinavian Lutheranism, the result of a rediscovering of Catholic customs in the 19C, but a continued practice. They are a majority in a remote place called Territoire de Belfort, and the North of Franche-Comté (to the extent that these lands got a Catholic diocese only in 1980).
            Alas, en extremely low birthrate, and huge financial problems (and also a substantial rate of high-profile clergy becoming Catholic, such as their last Bishop of Paris who is now a Catholic Priest) have led their Bishops to seek union with the (equally crumbling but larger) Reformed Church… and to do away with the Consubstantiation and the sacrificial priesthood. This union will enter into effect in 2012 or 13.

            1. Henri, thanks for the information on the Lutherans in France and their relations iwth the French Reformed—never even knew they "existed" in that (nominally) Catholic country. will have to find out more.

          2. John, have only seen some of the Lutheran churches in Germany in pictures but my impression of them is that i wish many of the Catholic churches (in the U.S. at least) would still look so "catholic". as Dr. Tighe has pointed out there has been movements in most of the traditionally Lutheran countries to rediscover and reemphasize the traditional elements of theology and liturgy (akin to "anglo-catholicism" and the tractarian movement) but at least its modern manifestations may be more a traditional looking gloss on a post modern perhaps ultimately even a kind of "post christian" (in the traditional sense) theology???

  16. @Fr. Chori.

    Great post. As to the ‘facts’ stated by the ‘continuing Anglican’ priest about ‘Rome's real motivation’ I would like to point out that it is interesting, at least to me, that an anglican priest does not know the content of the commandments (they are, or at least were in the past, part of the liturgy), specifically the one who tells us that we are not to produce false witness. I have also found out a good response, at least online, when I am met with claims and statements that are not argued for or substantiated, but just postulated. It is a good old latin saying, Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur: “What is asserted without reason may be denied/ignored without reason.” If the priest in question cannot back up his claims, the proper response is to ignore or deny – without reason. (As we all know, the burden of proof belongs to the one who postulates a claim.)

    1. Kjetil,

      Thank you. "Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur" is a useful rule to follow. The desire to believe bad things about the Catholic Church is an amazingly powerful force in the minds of many people today.

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