Friday, 28 January 2011

The future is the real issue

Fr Ray Blake on his blog [here] gives as good an explanation as I have read recently as to why those of us who are sympathetic to the Ordinariate have no qualms whatsoever about Anglican clergy being (re)ordained to serve in the Catholic Church: (my emphasis in bold type)
"It seems to be that all the Church is saying now, is that there is a deficiency in the Orders of those ordained in the Anglican Church who now seek ordination as Catholics. They might have worked in the CofE, they don’t work in for RCs. I can’t help but see a parallel with how the Church speaks about unbaptised children nowadays. Today we acknowledge the necessity of baptism but we avoid mention of limbo and instead we speak about the infinite mercy of God, simply because we know about and can be certain of Grace of the Church in the sacraments but in the dark world outside of the Church we simply do not know, we only know there is a problem.

Our big problem with Anglican Orders is not the past so much as the future, as far as Catholics and Orthodox are concerned every Ordination in the future will be invalid not just because of the involvement of female “bishops” but simply because the intention is to do precisely the opposite of what the Church intends, bishops and priests will be ordained, not for the Church catholic – I use the term in its broadest possible sense- but for those Christians who accept their particular orders, in that sense Anglican Orders are divisively anti-ecclesial."
Read it all.


  1. What a lot of tosh! The logical conclusion of this argument is dependent on who sets the confines of the 'Church Catholic', however broadly defined. Both RCs and Orthodox are clear in their official teaching about what defines the Church juridically and sacramentally. For them, whatever grace God chooses to dispense outside those bounds is not sacramental in the true sense.

    Their problem (and it is clearly yours too, Michael) is that Anglicans have a broader and fuzzier view on the confines of the Church. Despite your repudiation of your own Church, it still officially recognises and honours your ministry and orders AS WELL AS those you will not accept.

    Let's be clear: the current Roman view is that Anglicans are part of an ecclesial community where ordination might well have a role in the building of the Kingdom but in terms of validity and apostolic integrity it is quite deficient.

    Fr Ray's argument does not alter this, and if it is a bitter pill, nevertheless it must be swallowed if you want to repudiate the Catholic claims of the Anglican Communion.


  2. Tosh? I wonder; it's clear that between us we have touched a raw nerve. As for my "repudiation of my own church," many would say that it has repudiated both us and the Catholic faith we hold, and in the process turning its back on its own previous claims to catholicity. You ask the question as to who sets the confines of the "church catholic" -not, of course, an easy question to answer, but your "broader and fuzzier" answer now has rather too much of Anglican unilateralism about it to sit comfortably with any kind of ecclesiological consensus.

  3. Raw nerve? Yes, there should be plenty of those in the current situation.

    Unilateralism? They have that in spades in Rome and in Constantinople &c.

    My fear for those joining the Ordinariate is that they will find themselves moving from the frying pan into the fire, and for those currently straddling the gap, unsure what to do, that they will lose the last vestiges of their integrity.



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