13 April 2018

To muddy the Waters ... or to uphold the Anglican Patrimony?

                                DODGY DOCTRINE, versus ...

 Monday's great and glorious feast of the Annunciation ... when, as our exquisite Anglican Patrimony puts it, Immensity was cloistered in Mary's dear womb ... had its lustre marred for me some fivish years ago, when we were being cleansed from our supposed Anglican errors by a series of lectures at Allen Hall (a bit like, I suppose, the Denazification processes in Germany after 1945 or the Cultural Revolution under Mao tse Tung.). One of the speakers informed us that we should tear up all the sermons we had ever written and delivered as Anglicans about how the entire Divine work of Incarnation and Atonement had, at one moment in History, hung upon a Jewish Girl giving her free assent to the call of the Angel.

Mary, he carefully explained to us, was not Free.

I think he was the same gentleman whom I have several times mentioned to you before, who told us that the teaching of the Latin Fathers, the Tridentine Breviary, and the Anglican Patrimony that the Lord is equal to the Father as touching his Godhead and less than the Father as touching his manhood, was a heresy, and that we should write to (the now late) Mother Angelica, whose website, so he told us, promoted this heresy, and explain to her that she was a heretic. (I'm pretty sure none of us did that, thank God.)

This sort of nastiness can be difficult to clear out of one's mind. I felt it again as the (English) text of PF's latest 'Exhortation' flickered down (up?) my computer screen. Is it easy to take seriously the teaching of someone who has in a brief pontificate given so much irrefragable evidence of his unreliability? I am pretty sure that a lot of what he has just published about Sanctity was perfectly splendid and would have been for my own much-needed edification. But it is so uncomfortable to read when one feels that one is obliged to check each statement carefully to be sure that there is not some error wrapped up or implied in what one is reading. And indeed, the preoccupations of this pontificate, encapsulated in such characteristic abuse as the Rigidity stuff, do duly make their appearances. No, I shall not print it off and take it with me on retreat. I suggest that you, too, might have better things to spend your time reading ...

                             ... AUTHENTIC DOCTRINE

 ... such as a limpid lecture delivered last Saturday in Rome by Cardinal Brandmueller. Although his Eminence is not, I think, a member of the Ordinariate (indeed, the poor chap may not even have had any 'Anglican Previous' at all, so he would not qualify for admission), he gave a fine exposition of the teaching of Mr Patrimony Himself, aka Blessed John Henry Newman, about 'consulting the Faithful in matters of doctrine'. Newman is, indeed, the antidote to most of the ills of this pontificate.

You can find Brandmueller's paper, in an elegant translation by Diane Montagna, at Lifesitenews.

                                  NEWMAN AND OUR TIMES?

And, while I am talking about Newman and still reeling from the idea floated by the Graf von Schoenborn, about the need, in his view, for an Ecumenical Council to agree the Ordination of Women, I commend to you Dr Ker's fine biography of Newman (I have before me the 1990 paperback reprint), especially the Chapter on Papal Infallibility; and, if your time is terribly short, at least pages 653-659. It contains phrases which any wild firebrands there may be among my readers might deem uncannily up-to-the-moment: the ultrahyperpapalists are "an aggressive insolent faction" ... " the present Pope cannot live long - he has lived too long [Pio Nono was then 78]" ... "we have come to a climax of tyranny ...". He deplores the fact that the Archbishop of Westminster, aka Mr Archdeacon emeritus Manning, has made statements vastly and improperly exaggerating papal authority. At a time when converts were reverting to the Church of England and foreign intellectuals were toying with the "Old Catholic" option, he explains carefully and most lucidly why Catholics should on no account allow themselves to be driven out of the Church. At a time when many bishops were afraid to get their heads above the parapet, he assures his close friend and ally, Bishop David Moriarty of Kerry, that he is one of a "special band of confessors". (Moriarty was one of the Four Bishops who put a stop to hyperultrapapalist excesses by threatening to walk out of the Council and blow the gaffe on the intimidation being perpetrated.)


But most importantly and most gravely, Newman discusses (page 655 in Ker) how one should discern whether a particular Conciliar Decree is in fact valid ... ... ... ... ... or alternatively (yes, you've guessed) not valid. Quantus et qualis Doctor; quam huic nostro tempori aptus! Intercede Beate pro nobis.

Let us pray we never come to having to make such judgements, with all that this could mean for the Unity of the Church Militant. 'Avignon' is already one Great Western Schism too many. And that did not even have a doctrinal basis.


William Arthurs said...

This is a link to Cardinal Brandmueller's talk.

I was reading C B Moss's "The Old Catholic Movement: its origins and history" and had wondered how the Old Catholics of Utrecht are these days and what they are up to. An interesting statement on a page on their website, which I cannot now find, justified their decision to start ordaining women, on the (European Union employment law) grounds of "equal opportunities". An attempted appeal to a vague philosophical principle seems more honest, to me, than inventing a tradition.

A Daughter of Mary said...

Interesting, Father, thank you. With so much in our world that we must avoid, we do have a wonder we must be thankful for - we have access to so much written in the past that can help us now - from readily available books from the Doctors and Fathers, to lives of the Saints, to encyclicals and other documents by faithful Popes…a feast for starving Catholics.

Thanks for all your digging around, and for sharing with us.

GOR said...

For some time already I have been of the view that missives from this pontificate should carry a health warning: “Reading this may be injurious to your [spiritual] health.”

As a result I take them cum grano salisor - more likely – with a generous shot of Glenfiddich or Jameson.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Kudos, Father. Bold and bracing once again. ABS loves the smell of orthodoxy in the morning.

Ben of the Bayou said...


Dear Father Hunwicke,

Thank you for commending the biography of Dr Ker. I have read most of the particularly slim selection that you recommended and it left me desirous of reading the whole work when I am able to acquire it. As I delightfully read Ker's quotations from the Beatus himself, one quality I found remarkable and refreshing: their honest assessment. What a state we have come to in our times, that "politeness" means never saying anything that seems to be critical! And yet, as you point out, always principled, Newman was able to identify certain ways of acting as "tyranny"! Vivat spiritus Newman in tempore nostra!

Two other things I found quite remarkable, particularly given your own deep appreciation of Newman, holding him up so much as a model for members of the Ordinariate today and for the whole Church. On p. 657, Ker makes it quite clear that Newman, by 1870, has reached a point of deep "distrust of the Anglican Orders" and the footnote explains that, at best, he held them to be doubtful and thus to be treated as invalid. This was, of course, before Leo XIII, but the learned opinion of Dr. Newman would give, it seems to me, all the more weight to a judgment about which you yourself have expressed (in light of these facts) remarkable disagreement.

The second item is his advice in the sorrowful case of Loyson. In particular, his conviction there would be "slowly but surely" changes coming to the Church, such that her estate would be happier than ever in history, "Remedies spring up naturally in the Church, as in nature, if we wait for them" (p. 660). Personally, I aver that such times have not yet come, and indeed that the darkness may have increased for the moment. But, may the gracious Lord grant that we live to see such happier times!

Lastly, the electronic resource to which I had access did not give p. 655 in its pages and so I was quite disappointed to be unable to study Newman's guidance on judging the validity of a Conciliar decree. On the other hand, you may have been referring to the criterion that it becomes valid "once accepted" by the majority of Bishops. But, if I read that correctly, Newman judged that this position had become untenable (in that direct way) by the definition at Vatican I. Again, it may be that something other was written on p. 655. Would you do all your readership the kindness of giving us an exposition of this (these) citerion (criteria)?

Pax et bonum,


Tom said...

Is a married clergy (including bishops) part of the "Anglican Patrimony" to be upheld by the Ordinariates?

The discipline established by Pope Benedict XVI allowed married clerics (former priests and bishops) from the Anglican/Episcopalian churches and related churches (such as the Reformed Episcopal and the Charismatic Episcopal ones - the latter of which does not have its origins or links with Charismatics or Episcopalians but got its valid Apostolic succession ultimately through the Rebiban line via the schismatic/deposed Roman Catholic bishop Carlos Duarte Costa.

Those married clerics (whether priests or bishops) were allowed to be "re"-ordained unconditionally and only as Catholic priests, although some former bishops were made monsignori so that they could prelatial dignity and privileges (such as coat-of-arms and wearing prelatial garb). Future priestly candidates to (and from within) the Ordinariates had to be celibate.

I think that these two provisos (uncondtional "re"-ordination only to the priesthood and celibacy of future priestly candidates) deterred some "continuing" and "traditional" Anglican groups such as TAC and the former TEC (now ACNA) diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, from corporatively entering the Ordinariates, because they could not have (and continue having) the part of their Anglican Patrimony of married priests and bishops - especially the recognition of the orders (or conditional "re"-ordination) of their current priests and bishops.

Now that Pope Francis has rescinded the former ban on married Eastern Catholic priests in the USA and that subsequently Eastern Catholic bishops are ordaining married men to the priesthood, the presence of an increasing number of such married priests (especially in the USA) is an anomaly to the requirement of celibacy for priests in the Ordinariates vis a vis the that aspect of Anglican Patrimony or a married priesthood. Might Pope Francis allow the ordination of married men as priests from within and for the Ordinariates - especially in view of considering that matter at the upcoming Pan-Amazonian Synod and the 2019 World Synod on Youth - for widespread/isolated regions such as Amazonia, Pacific Islands, and priestless (or almost priestless) parts of the Americas and Western Europe?

Sue Sims said...

Ben of the Bayou: you can buy a secondhand copy of Ian Ker's biography of Newman online: go to https://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/SearchResults?an=ian+ker&bi=0&bx=off&cm_sp=SearchF-_-Advtab1-_-Results&ds=30&recentlyadded=all&sortby=17&sts=t&tn=newman+biography for the copies available in various countries. They're not terribly expensive.

John Vasc said...

"one is obliged to check each statement carefully to be sure that there is not some error wrapped up or implied in what one is reading."
I have found the most straightforward way through this potentially thorny problem is not to begin reading any of it at all. I have instead sent a sizeable donation to one of the excellent pro-Life groups currently campaigning in the UK, and will join one of their prayer demonstrations next week.
So the exhortation has borne fruit, if not quite of the kind its author may have envisaged.

Thomas said...

Mary Not free!? As a so called 'cradle Catholic', I have never heard such an outrageous, offensive and manifestly stupid suggestion! Only a Calvinist who denied all free will at all could think that, surely? Grace engenders freedom, sin enslaves. She who is 'full of grace' was more free in her response to her Creator's invitation and prompting than any of the rest us poor damaged mortals. The community of Heaven is full of freedom and is held together by the eternally free choice of the saints to adore The Highest Good. Is the Divine Nature not freedom par excellence? It was precisely Mary's sinlessness that made it possible for her to embrace the highest vocation of all creatures unhindered by any self love. Surely this is the very fulcrum of salvation history? Is her: "Be it done unto me according to thy Word" just a charade?! What then is the point of our reciting the Angelus every day? I know you know all this Fr., I just want to underline that such an opinion is utterly alien to every Catholic instinct I am fortunate enough to have been exposed to all my life. I would confidently say that every practising and prayerful Catholic I know would share my feelings. Where did they get these people who were supposed to welcome you good people into full communion with Rome? They didn't speak for the majority of us. Most of the 'theology' I have, if any, comes from saying the rosary. I think I'll stick to that. Going on 'courses' sounds dangerous for the soul.

Calvin Engime said...

But Tom, Anglicanorum Coetibus in no way limits married priests to the first generation of the Ordinariate, though I have heard the ordinaries themselves in some (all?) countries have opted not to ordain any married men...

"VI. § 2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See."

DeHereticoComburendo said...

@ John Vasc,

Thank you, John. Your comment has crystallised a feeling I’ve had for a while now - that reading about the latest novelties from the Vatican is a waste of time and energy. I, too, have recently been pondering some significant financial benefactions; but I hadn’t even considered the pro-life cause! So, thank you for that. It comes to something, when one considers supporting the institutional Church financially, and then you think… Is my money actually going to be used to save souls, or are they going to just waste it? Are they going to spend it on gender ideology education? Is it going to end up funding people like Fr James Martin? Is it going to be used to “save the planet”? While I live, I shall follow the precept to “contribute to the support of our pastors”. But unless a Pope Schneider or a Pope Sarah is in post at my demise, the Church isn’t getting anything in my Will.

Colin Spinks said...

I can only think that the gentleman who tried to teach you that Mary was not "free" was assuming that as a "Protestant" you denied her Immaculate Conception and freedom from the taint of original sin, and thought of her as just like any of us who fall into temptation and sin every day, but happened on this one glorious occasion to make the right (free) choice. As Thomas (above) points out, however, her fulness of grace and sinlessness, far from making her not free, make her more free to embrace the divine will. Incidentally, I occasionally point out to my Methodist mother that John Wesley fervently believed in the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, and Her Perpetual Virginity.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

There is nothing wrong with clerical marriage, Tom (in case you were implying that there was). Our Lord permitted not omly married priests, but married bishops.

Ben of the Bayou said...


I thank you right readily!