Saturday, January 23, 2016

The indelible mark of the priesthood and fallen-away Catholics

OK, so a lot of Anglo-Catholic parishes practise Benediction. At a parish where the vicar's orders are invalid (in my opinion only former RC priests would be valid) would worship of a piece of bread be idolatry? I am in a city where no Ordinariate community exists. I would like to attend evensong at the Anglo-Catholic parish but it includes Benediction.
Attend. They believe God's there and who knows? God created valid orders but he's not limited to them. Idolatry? No. It's all in the intent, and that's not their intent. I'm supposed to have convertitis and scream "No!" Sorry.

Catholic traditionalist Michael Davies believed that an ex-Catholic priest using the Anglicans' Communion service is celebrating Mass. Illicitly but Mass all the same. Of course I'd like to know what the church teaches. Can't go wrong treating it as invalid, since of course you can't go to Communion there anyway. (The church has never approved or used Cranmer's Communion consecration prayer.) My guess is the Anglican or Lutheran context renders valid orders moot. Like when schismatic Catholic bishops participated in Anglican ordinations: the church doesn't recognize the "Dutch touch" among Protestants; only when the schismatic Dutch-derived churches (the so-called Old Catholics) do it. ELCA's former presiding bishop claims that touch through the Episcopalians; that is pushing the Western Catholic theology of valid orders outside the church too far.
Not that it's pertinent to this (seeing it's a Western matter), but the Eastern view is that if he's a priest then his consecrating of the Eucharist is valid. The concept of liceity does not exist in the East. Either it's valid or it's not. If the priest has been formally defrocked/deposed, then he's no longer a priest and therefore he can not consecrate anything.
Actually the Christian East favors the view that if the priest is outside what they consider the church, be it Orthodoxy, one of the Monophysite churches, or the Nestorian Church, then he's not a priest and there are no other valid sacraments including baptism. Sometimes they recognize our orders, baptisms, etc., as we do theirs but they don't have to.
I would say this is a late development. The work of the Holy Ghost is no laughing matter. Some fanatical Orthodox might deny the indelible mark of the priesthood but no Catholic — no matter what church he belongs to — may deny that he is a priest forever.
Right; Catholics believe a priest never stops being a priest. A laicized priest simply is forbidden from using that, except in an emergency. Thing is the fanatical Orthodox are in good standing with their churches. The "indelible mark" of holy orders is our doctrine, not theirs. They don't dogmatically deny it or anything else Catholic, but they hold this: there is the church and it has orders; everything outside the church is undefined darkness. An Orthodox convert with a theology degree has told me they don't believe their laicized priests are still priests. I'm not sure; I imagine one of their bishops could reactivate one.
Going around denying the validity of other people's baptisms is not "Eastern," it's not "apostolic"; it's plain cult-crazy.
Why I'm Catholic, not Orthodox, for example: I can't buy that only "Byzantium" is the church, the only thing with grace.
Laicised RC priests retain their orders and, with correct form and matter confect valid sacraments in Anglo-Catholic churches. There are not a few active in the Anglo-Catholic movement so this is a valid issue.
Historically it was very rare: Catholics turned Anglicans tended not to mimic the church, and Anglo-Catholics, while sometimes pushing a rival true-church claim, respected us in "the Roman Church" so they didn't try to convert us; they were trying to catholicize other Anglicans. You've seen it more since the '60s, as Episcopalianism high-churchified, coincidentally: ex-Catholics who were priests who wanted to marry, were gay, or were divorced and remarried. Some Episcopalians complain about such remaining very "Roman." Most Catholic liberals don't switch because they are from a generation rightly taught we're the true church so rather than leave they stayed and tried to change (protestantize) it, plus they don't like high liturgics (the Episcopalians worship too much like I do) and they have ethnic and real or perceived class loyalties (an Irish-American not joining the English church, for example).

Then there was St. Clement's, my Anglo-Catholic parish in the late '80s and hangout last decade, which had a few ex-Catholics as lay leaders (ex-Catholic Anglo-Papalists?!) creating a Tridentine-based liturgical haven (albeit ecclesiologically and sacramentally untenable) amidst the American Catholic wasteland/madhouse after Vatican II; they've since returned to the church and have a weekly Tridentine Mass like the one I go to.

And then there's the issue of ex-Catholics coming back and wanting to be Catholic priests. Normally an ex-Catholic priest wouldn't be allowed to but the church could give a dispensation; what John Hepworth wanted. A few men left the church as laymen, married, and were ordained in the Church of England or Episcopal Church, and the church gave them a dispensation when they came back; they are now Catholic priests.

By the way, the return of lapsed Catholics is today's Chair of Unity Octave intention, having prayed for the conversion of European Protestants (I guess mostly our Lutheran cousins; sounds quaint as it seems to me European Protestantism is dead) and American ones (lively, though often "the American religion," not as Christian as one thinks). My dad came back, the core group at St. Clement's came back, and I came back. It happens.

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