Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Anglicans: Dutch touch a no-go

"Succession had been broken by over a century's use of the invalid Edwardine rites." Exactly.

The Dutch touch is wishful thinking for Anglo-Papalists and those who were trying to use Anglicanism's semi-congregationalism as a hedge against Vatican II low-church liturgics and even against Modernism (talk about the frying pan vs. the fire). Trying to defend good things like Anglican parishes' close community too. Because of the touch, they say, you can accept Apostolicae Curae AND be Anglican!

Not so much.

There's only one church in the sense of THE church. The Anglican branch theory is actually based on the idea that Anglican Christianity is the best, the purest "branch" of Catholicism because of Cranmer's and Hooker's godly "Reformation," which was actually worse than the Novus Ordo and something many Anglo-Catholics don't really believe.

The church has never accepted the Dutch touch. Only two conditional ordinations of ex-Anglicans — Fr. John Jay Hughes (converted by the same view of the papacy I believe in — the Pope's office shares in the church's infallibility) and Msgr. Graham Leonard, for personal (Hughes was trying to reconcile with his father, an Episcopal priest) and political/ecumenical reasons respectively. No matter, because conditional ordination does the same thing absolute ordination does.

Because although, as Fr. Hunwicke has pointed out, "intent" is very easy to have (so no to some traddies' arguments against the validity of the Novus Ordo — "plus catholique que l'eglise," spiritual pride), it all depends on the faith and teaching of THE CHURCH, the context of the service being done. Our criteria for valid orders are simple: credal orthodoxy so basic the Nestorians pass, an unbroken claim of tactile succession (which the Anglicans have), and uninterrupted true teaching about the Eucharist (which is where the Anglicans lose and the Orthodox, for example, win). A Eucharist or ordination in an Anglican context means the theology of Cranmer and Hooker, no dice, no matter how many schismatic (Old Catholic) bishops you bring in to lay on hands and pray something (which, I understand, wasn't the Roman Rite ordination prayer anyway).

"The Universal Solvent, Ecumenism." I remember the aftermath of Vatican II, in the '70s, but growing up on the Episcopal side. I misunderstood: I saw us high-churchifying, took it in at face value, and thus thought we were on our way back to mother church. Lots of people then thought everybody would get back together: Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Orthodox, any day now. (Some Catholics think the Catholic/Orthodox split is healed because of a purely symbolic "undoing" of 1054 in 1965.) The real agenda was more like an attempted Universal Solvent, Catholic AND Anglican teachings being dissolved into a new church, liberal with a sort of Swedish Lutheran view of apostolic succession (fallible church, with trappings such as succession fun but unnecessary). Impossible for Catholicism so of course it never happened. Catholic churchmen made big mistakes liberalizing but the church in itself is infallible and indefectible, as it reminded the world, to the world's scorn, with Humanae Vitae.

The recent presiding bishop of ELCA, America's mainline liberal Lutheran denomination, Mark Hanson, has Dutch-touch Anglican succession, showing how absurd a purely "lines of succession" view of orders can be, a logical but bastardized conclusion from Western Catholicism's approach to this sacrament, but a valid approach. Thanks to it, we recognize most of the Christian East as an estranged part of us, not an "Other." Yes, lines, but also the context of the church, which is partly why little "independent Catholic" churches (vagantes) aren't taken seriously. The Orthodox lean more towards the context of the church, but when churches break up — the Oriental Orthodox vs. the Chalcedonian Orthodox, the Orthodox communion vs. its Old Calendarist splinter sects and the Kyiv Patriarchate, and Constantinople and Moscow are always on the verge of breaking up in a power struggle, the now-toothless Second Rome vs. the still vital Third with its empire, natural-gas hold on Europe, and nukes, the only Orthodox country that matters geopolitically — which one among them is "the church"?
Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware): It's not enough to have the Orthodox faith; you must be in the Orthodox Church.
Fr. Serge (Keleher), 100% unlatinized and 100% Catholic: Which one?
Metropolitan Kallistos: Shut up! You know too much.


  1. Even if you do believe in "lines", the Dutch touch has been nullified by the feminine touch.

    Not that it matters to Anglicans any more. It's at least four decades since I met an Anglican who thought that apostolic succession was important.

  2. Someone told me years ago that apostolic succession isn't about hands on the head, but the butt in the seat (i.e., jurisdiction)

    1. Those who have it don't need to personally prove it, which is why Catholic and Orthodox priests don't have Web pages charting their "lines." That's a vagante game: if a church or priest starts going on about "lines," run. The Anglicans don't really have it and may not care anymore but they're not vagantes either.


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