Validity of Anglican Holy Orders

Discussion in 'Faith, Devotion & Formation' started by bwallac2335, Jul 21, 2019.

  1. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    I have seen this come up in discussions. Why do Catholics not view the orders as valid and what do the Eastern Orthodox say about this?
     
  2. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    The basic argument was that the Anglican Ordinal (the Rites for performing ordinations/episcopal consecrations) was defective. In the last 50 years, the issue has been further complicated by the ordination of women, particularly since the first few were consecrated to the episcopate and began performing ordinations.
     
  3. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    For the Roman view it's quite a complicated affair but Shane has given the essential answer in brief.

    You need to read 'Apostolicae Curae', the Papal Bull of Leo XIII dated 1896 in which he declares Anglican orders "absolutely null and utterly void." Roman Catholics should affirm this.

    https://www.papalencyclicals.net/leo13/l13curae.htm

    Then read the Anglican response 'Saepius Officio' . (This links to the document at Project Canterbury.)

    https://bit.ly/2GkccaI
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  4. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    That's one facet to the issue. The other facet is that the Roman Catholic ordinal itself was changed, and now post 1960s is even more susceptible than we are, to the criticism which was levied at Anglican Holy Orders.

    For this reason, many Trent-only traditionalist groups utterly reject all modern Roman Catholic orders. They've applied the standard levied at Anglican holy orders, and found that today's R.C. holy orders to be even more susceptible to dismissal. Until recently SSPX has held this view, and all sedevacantist groups hold this view.

    99% of today's R.C. ordained hierarchy is now covered by the new ordinal, and therefore held by them as "null and void."


    I don't see why they should affirm this. First of all we as Anglicans can (and must) affirm that Roman Popes 'can and frequently have erred'. Secondly, from internal criticism alone, if they accept Leo XIII's argument in Apostolicae Curae, they affirm the nullity of their own holy orders.

    I'll put it this way: there is no longer any Cardinal left in the Roman college of Cardinals who was ordained in the old rite. This means that if Apostolicae Curae is right, there can no longer exist any 'valid' Cardinals, or 'valid' Popes, and the entire RC hierarchy has become extinct (according to the same argument they applied to our Archbishop Matthew Parker). For instance Pope Francis is the first Pope who has been completely ordained in the New Ordinal. If Apostolicae Curae is valid, then he's not a Pope.

    So in short, Rome has gotten itself into a pretzel. Either Leo XIII was right, and they can reject Anglican and all modern Roman holy orders; or the modern hierarchy is validly ordained, and by that standard they are forced to accept Anglican orders as valid as well.


    The Easterns do not accept anyone as truly and completely validly ordained, other than themselves. They frequently chastize the Roman Catholics, and (I believe) require Roman and Anglican priests to be re-ordained if they enter Orthodoxy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
  5. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Active Member Anglican

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    There was significant work between East and Canterbury toward mutual recognition of Orders, but the world wars interrupted that work, and when we came out of that period of time steeped in modernism and ordaining women, all hope of resuming those talks was lost.
     
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  6. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe there there will be hope in the future of restarting those talks
     
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  7. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Active Member Anglican

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    Once we stop ordaining women, or the East starts ordaining women...
    Once the alphabet soup of division and party spirit stops wrecking our respective communions...

    We need a completely different situation before such a pipe dream can be approached with any real optimism again.
     
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  8. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Well we can always hope and pray for that pipe dream
     
  9. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Change is not something that the East is familiar with, and essentially it is not part of its DNA. A thousand years is like yesterday passing. For the East to start ordaining women would require an Oecumenical Council, and that is not likely to happen until Rome repents of the errors of 1014-1054, and pretty much everything else they have done since then.

    Our capacity for fracture is only matched by our incapacity to repair the damage without more fracturing. There is a sense in which we seem to make everything absolutely critical and have little capacity for aquenence. Marriages that work well involve two people looking in the same direction and striving for the common goals, and when they don't work well they seem to be ancessant stalemate of people facing of against one another. For Church to work well, we need to be looking together to Jesus and him mission in the world today.
     
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  10. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    While that's more true today than it was in the past, to say that they've always been this way is a part of their mythology, often deployed by them as an apologetic tactic toward the non-Orthodox. It's merely one of their apologetic strategies, and does not bear close scrutiny. In actual fact, history bears witness to at least 3-4 colossal inflection points which utterly changed what the Eastern Church understood itself to be, and what its doctrines were.

    The main one I like to use is the Second Council Nicea II in the 700s AD, where the Patristic church was essentially excommunicated, and the party of the Byzantine medieval church became enthroned. Gregory Palamas is essentially incompatible with Justin Martyr, or with St. Cyril, or with any of the Latin fathers.

    The other inflection point was the Old Calendarists schism. While not as dramatic as with Nicea II, still you had two essentially irreconcilable parties, where the debate hanged not merely on which calendar to use, but also all of the feasts and fasts and the attendant theology which hangs upon the church calendar. The Old Calendarists still survive today, and do not recognize any of the Eastern Orthodox we know today as actually Orthodox (or even Christian, for all I know).

    Yet another inflection was during the Soviet era in the 1920s, when almost the whole Russian Orthodox Church was corrupted by soviet influences, and Patriarch Tikhon formally suppressed anti-soviet initiatives, and endorsed the soviet state, as well as various soviet (atheistic) reforms of the church. Although that particular schism resolved itself so there's little trace of it now, yet if you lived in the 1920s Russia there was essentially no orthodox "Orthodox Church" left.
     
  11. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    Gregory Palamas is essentially incompatible with Justin Martyr, or with St. Cyril, or with any of the Latin fathers.
    How so?
     
  12. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    The Patristic Church was essentially connected with the propositional model of truth and human understanding, which is ultimately connected with Aristotle, Plato, and the Classical Ancient model of knowledge we still enjoy and appreciate today. Justin Martyr, the great philosopher in the 2nd century, used what to us feels like a modern apologetic method of evidence, reason, inference, syllogism, to validate the truth of Christianity. You see the same mode of argumentation in anyone from Athanasius to Augustine, deploying essentially a modern model of logic, persuasion, and evangelization.

    That model today no longer exists in the Eastern Orthodox church, and apologetics (First Cause, etc) as we normally see in them are not generally known in the Eastern Orthodox cultures, in places like Bulgaria, or Greece, or Russia. The explanation for that goes back to the Byzantine period and men like Gregory of Palamas, where the classical model of knowledge and truth was broken down, and essentially a type of Fideism was put in its place: you have to believe first, and then we'll tell you why. This explains why outside of historic Orthodox lands, where being Orthodox is part of the culture, the Orthodox are really ineffective in conversion and evangelism: they just never developed the persuasive arguments that could take one from an atheist, to an agnostic, to a deist, to a Christian, to an Eastern Orthodox. In every historic period where atheism/skepticism took over, the Eastern Orthodox ended up losing (contrasted with the Church of England which crushed the atheism and deism of the 18th century).

    Another great divergence has to do with several points of doctrine, where the early fathers widely differed from the Byzantine church, especially on the doctrine of images (generally disused in the context of worship), the doctrine of scripture (seen as the sole source of divine revelation), and several other doctrines. But all that's off topic, so I'll stop here.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
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  13. Leacock

    Leacock New Member

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    Could you provide a little more context on that statement? The only occasion I'm really familiar with there was in Bolshevik Russia, where to my knowledge the Orthodox Church was quite strong prior to the essentially military take over (and then of course it spread by weight of military might throughout essentially all of the Orthodox world except for Greece). And in those cases Orthodoxy survived and would ultimately have a revival (and in Greece I'm not sure it really seems to be doing worse than say, Scandinavian Lutheranism or German Roman Catholicism).

    But I am by no means an expert on Eastern Orthodoxy so I would be quite interested in an elucidation of that point.

    I think you are completely correct about their weakness in evangelism, which I had never really understood the reason for before.
     
  14. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I get the conjecture of this statement, however the Orthodox do seem to be growing in many places. To me, one of the stark contrasts between Byzantine Orthodoxy and Carolingian Catholicism was alway focus - the East focussed on worship, whilst the west focussed on mission. This is particularly reflected by Charlemagne's movement of the Nicene Symbol from the earlier position to the position that most of us are now familiar with, before the dismissal of the catechumens. I do think in the contemporary west the cultural baggage they carry with them in the tradition does in some ways hold them back. If you don't understand some Greek, and are not overly fond of spinach and feta, it may be that the Greek Church is not going to be a good fit. They are always ready to point to the power of the liturgy to turn hearts to God, and on the testimony I have heard from several people along the way, I would be ready to accept that. It does however leave open the question, is conversion a giving of heart direction and affection, or simply a change of mind?
     
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  15. PDL

    PDL Active Member Anglican

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    I believe with the ordination of woman and the Porvoo Communion, the Church of England seems to have drawn the same conclusion reached by Leo XIII.
     
  16. Religious Fanatic

    Religious Fanatic Well-Known Member

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    Orthodoxy does teach us that experiencing the work of God through obedience rather than rationalization is important since not all of God's power can be explained in that way. For instance, you will not always be able to explain to people how unction works in a special way when dealing with sickness. You just believe, and take it on faith, and then learn how its merits will manifest in your life. This is something that is largely forgotten in our present day.
     
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  17. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I would look at it like this: it is known that the majority of Russian society at the turn of the century was incredibly poor, indigent and dejected. The suggestions for social improvements (unfortunately) all came from the atheistic wing, from the liberals and the socialists, to fix the horrible cruelty and abuse of the people by the nobles. On their end, the Orthodox Church did not make proposals for improving the well-being of the people (unlike the militant anti-slavery Anglican activists such as William Wilberforce). The Orthodox hierarchy was deeply embedded with the aristocrats (think Rasputin, the mystic and charlatan at the court of the Tsar); and unfortunately they stamped their approval on anything the Tsar or the aristocracy imposed on the populace. Think of it like today's Patriarch Kirill who is 100% pro-government, and was recently caught with a $20,000 Breguet watch under his cassock.

    In that social environment, I would assume that the socialists were much more popular than the Tsar and the Church; which is ultimately why the people didn't object too much when the Bolsheviks instituted a holocaust of the Orthodox clergy. This famous painting captures the state of Russia at the turn of 1900, better than I could.


    Barge Haulers on the Volga
    Ilia_Efimovich_Repin_(1844-1930)_-_Volga_Boatmen_(1870-1873).jpg
     
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  18. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Well-Known Member

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    It was also true that by the time of WWI Russia's economy was booming. It was the China back then. Germany feared the growing power of Russia back then. If WWI had not happened Russia would have modernized and never had revolution. Also if memory serves me right Rasputin was not Orthodox.
     
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  19. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Active Member

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    I bought a copy of the official report on A.R,C.I.C. (Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission) just to find out about these sort of issues. Unfortunately the report seems to me to be full of "waffle" I thought it might tell me why RCs thought Anglican orders were invalid. Apostolicae Curae is only mentioned in passing (ie why the chapter is called 1896-1998). The only thing they go on about is the ordination of women now causing problems. The possibility that I am looking at the wrong parts of the report exists because the chapter headings are vague and the index is ...well non existent.
     
  20. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The A.R.C.I.C. documents were more concerned to find what we had in common. The general argument around the validity of orders, which were in the eyes of the rcc clearly valid until Cardinal Pole, have to do with what they see as a deficit in the consecration of Bishops under the 1952 Ordinal which was used for the consecration of Matthew Parker who served as AB of C for Elizabeth. There of course the argument break down, because as those who took part on the consecration were in valid orders, and the sacramental intent was to create a Bishop for the Church of God in, England. I believe it would be more honest to suggest from an rcc perspective that the consecration of Matthew Parker was valid but irregular. The determination of them as being utterly null and void is of course a defective ruling which essentially finds its sense of authority in an inflated view of Papal authority.

    Never since Gregory gave Augustine the Palium was Papal permission understood to be a requirement, and indeed there were Bishops in England at the council of Arles who were without a Roman Connection. The actions of Henry VIII was to restore the autocephalous nature of the English Church that it had had prior tot he Augustinian Mission, and that it continued to have until the time of the Conquest by William marching into battle under the Popes Banners.