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Source: (consider it) Thread: The Reformed Catholic Church of the Americas
Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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Thinking mainly of USA and Canada, how could the mainline protestant denominations either merge or develop a close communio in sacris amounting to an ecclesiastical consortium? It would need to meet the requirements of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral, which includes adoption of the historic episcopate adapted to local circumstances - ISTM the most difficult bit. The other aspects - Holy Scripture + Baptism and the Eucharist+Nicene & Apostles Creeds - seem easy.

I'm not asking necessarily about the desirability of this (though surely Christian renunion should be desirable), but rather the conditions of feasibility within North America.

TEC and the ELCA have, of course, led the way in some sense within the United States. The ELCA has other inter-communion relationships, and in Canada organic merger was achieved long ago between Methodists and Presbyterians, although I don't think that model would work for further ecumenical blending at a pan-North American level.

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Gramps49
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For the ELCA we approach fellowship with other denominations on the basis of Article V of the Augsburg Confession:

1] Also they (Lutherans) teach that one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.

2] And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and 3] the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike. 4] As Paul says: One faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, etc. Eph. 4:5-6.

We have gone a long way in reaching out to not the Anglicans, Methodists and Reformed fellowships. We are in discussions with the African Methodist fellowships; the Disciples of Christ; the Mennonites; the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic traditions.

The big problem with Roman Catholics is what to do about the primacy of the pope. We Lutherans could go so far as recognizing him as a bishop among bishops, but not the prime bishop.

With the Orthodox there is the filoque question (I think we Westerners probably got it wrong).

With the Mennonites we Lutherans have expressed regret for the persecution of Anabaptists during the Reformation.

While we have reached agreement with the Disciples on Communion, we still are in ongoing discussions about Holy Baptism.

I believe the African Methodists traditions will be in full fellowship with the ELCA in the next biennial Assembly.

But, to be frank, I think the demand for Apostolic Succession is unnecessary. I think it is more important to have a church that teaches Apostolic doctrine more important.

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Sober Preacher's Kid

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The United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church of Canada signed a merger document in the 1970's in which the United Church agreed to accept bishops.

I do not know the other provisions.

More generally, we exist because of Chicago/Lambeth. Right after it was produced the Anglican Church of Canada circulated a merger proposal to the Canadian Presbyterians, Methodist and Congregationalists. The Anglicans insisted on a Prayer Book and bishops and the other refused to become Anglicans like that. But the latter three kept talking, which led to the Melville Conference of 1908 which produced the Basis of Union and Church Union in 1925.

Anyway, if the proposed church wants an episcopal structure, then I propose that it also have the Reformed Eldership which is a strength and a distinctive of Reformed polity, and the Barrier Act. That means substantial questions have to be referred down to Diocese Synods and Congregations for concurrence.

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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Couple of thoughts. First, wouldn't the easiest way - though perhaps not the most sensitive - be to simply transmit the historic episcopate to all pastors of non-episcopally governed denominations? IOW, these denominations would continue to have a unified ordained ministry, but one in which all those ordained as pastors would be in historic episcopal orders. Their governance structures would continue as per status quo ante. Ultimately these lines of pastors-in-episcopal-orders would also routinely act as co-consecrators of bishops in those churches that have episcopally structured governance. There would be a single stream of sacramental life throughout the ecclesial branches of this one Reformed Catholic tree (this isn't to say that there isn't already in some sense a single stream of sacramental life, but the goal of this would be to make that stream fully visible and tangible).

A second point. All of larger North American bodies that would presumably be interested in communio in sacris with one another ordain persons to the sacramental ministry without discrimination as to gender. The decisions of TEC and the ACoC to ordain women as presbyters and bishops effectively ended in hope of sacramental-ecclesiastical rapproachment with the RCC, quite apart from issues of papal jurisdiction; likewise with the Orthodox churches. In my view, ordination without discrimination as to the gender of the ordinand marked a definitive shift in TEC and the ACoC to the Reformation and to identifying themselves as Churches of the Reformation. Although I realise that not all Anglicans take that view, certainly that is the way the RCC and the Orthodox size us up. This is true for all other churches that possess the historic episcopate but ordain without respect to considerations of gender. There is no way that our orders can be reconciled to Rome or the Orthodox at any time in the foreseeable future, almost certainly not for many generations to come. There are thus limitations on the nature of ecumenical relationships with these churches. The mainline North American denominations can pursue various sorts of common understanding with these Pre-Reformation Churches, as well as practical social projects and other forms of cooperation outside of sacramental life, but any sacramental rapproachment is really up to those Pre-Reformation Churches and there isn't a lot we can do directly ourselves to promote sacramental unity with them.

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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Just to clarify a bit further, the situation is theoretically quite easy with episcopally governed churches like the United Methodist Church that don't presently have their bishops in historic "apostolic" succession, because then it's just a matter of their future bishops being ordained with some co-consecrators in historic episcopal orders.

I'd be interested in hearing more thoughts about how Reformed governance structures could be squared with episcopal polity in the event of a more thorough-going merger (perhaps the difference between a single united Reformed Catholic Church as oppossed to a number of inter-communing denominations simply being part of a Reformed Catholic Fellowship).

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ken
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Your model has to be the Indian united churches. The most successful - in some ways the only successful - such large-scale Protestant mergers ever.

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Ken

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Zach82
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The Episcopal Church is not really in a position to make any demands in a merger, and really I am not sure that merely throwing bishops at Presbyterians and Methodists is enough. I don't want the Episcopal Church to be slowly ironed out of its distinctiveness as part of a united Church structure.

So, if such a thing does happen, look for me to flee to the inevitable "Old Episcopal Church" movement.

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Cottontail

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quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
Couple of thoughts. First, wouldn't the easiest way - though perhaps not the most sensitive - be to simply transmit the historic episcopate to all pastors of non-episcopally governed denominations? IOW, these denominations would continue to have a unified ordained ministry, but one in which all those ordained as pastors would be in historic episcopal orders.

Forgive me, for I know this is not your intention - but that sounds like a fancy way of saying "Your orders are invalid. Let us help you to make them valid."

If, as an ordained Presbyterian minister, I attend an Episcopal friend's ordination, I am politely invited to take part in the laying on of hands. But equally politely, I decline to take part. Not because I don't want to - but because my laying on of hands is not recognised as "effective" by the Episcopal Church. It is an empty gesture.

I have nothing but respect for the Episcopal Church here in Scotland, and am more than happy to work and to dialogue ecumenically. But as a Presbyterian, I simply don't want bishops. I don't want to be "in historic episcopal orders", because I share none of the theology that insists they are necessary. In fact, I will go as far as to say that bishops are deal-breakers for me, and I will not be part of a church that has them.

If organisational unity is to be any kind of possibility, then perhaps the Episcopal Church might begin by recognising the validity of Presbyterian orders as they stand. Only then might we approach joint ordination as equals.

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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Ken, like the Church of South India? I've encountered some CofSI priests functioning in TEC. Interestingly, never any Church of North India. Not sure how the mergers were effected. Care to comment?

Zach: oh dear! Well, I wouldn't envision things being ironed out into a wholly homogeneous composition, at least not for several generations, so I reckon you wouldn't have to worry about still being alive in the Church Militant here in earth.

The Anglicans could, of course, drop the requirement for ordination within the historic episcopate and validate each other's ministries and sacraments based on other doctrinal grounds. I believe TEC has already moved in the direction of some formal inter-communion agreement with the Presbyterian Church-USA, although I don't know the details of that. Obviously, the unbroken tactual transmission of episcopal orders is a big sticking point for many Anglicans, whether or not the Pre-Reformation churches recognise our orders as authentically catholic (emphasis on the NOT).

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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Cottontail, my thought is that in North America we can probably achieve some formal recognition of each other's ministries and sacraments without the uptake of the historic episcopate by churches that don't currently possess it. A lot of people aren't bothered by the issue one way or the other, I think; hence there's already a good deal of informal recognition.

To create a more ambitious merger - this is just an intellectual exercise, of course - would likely require some reconciliation of ordained ministries that would include the gradual spread of the historic episcopacy throughout a United Church, even though this episcopacy might not have the traditional "shape" and functions of jurisdiction. You might conceivably end up with something closer to a merged presbyterate-episcopate, supplemented by a diaconate, rather than a fully articulated threefold ministry of bishops, presbyters and deacons.

Remember that in the case of TEC, we suspended the requirements of our Ordinal in order to recognise the sacramental ministries of already ordained ELCA clergy not in "apostolic succession". The agreement formally validated the sacramental efficacy of the existing ordained ministry in the ELCA, whilst creating a mechanism for the uptake of the historic episcopate by that Church, over time. This will eventually create a single tangible stream of sacramental life (I emphasise the "tangible" part).

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Zach82
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I don't want Episcopal distinctiveness to be ironed out ever, because I believe in the Episcopal Church as a Church founded by Jesus Christ. I don't agree with many of the Church's inter-communion agreements, and I am against further ones or deepening ones that compromise our beliefs. That is the worst sort of Ecumenism.

As for "Pre-Reformation Churches," I don't look to them to validate our orders. If I thought it was Rome's place to validate orders, I would be Roman Catholic.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
Ken, like the Church of South India? I've encountered some CofSI priests functioning in TEC. Interestingly, never any Church of North India. Not sure how the mergers were effected. Care to comment?

I probably need to check some books for the details, but IIRC there was mutual recognition of ordained ministry from the outset (though in practice no doubt some of the Anglicans had finicky reservations about non-episcopally ordained priests and omitted to invite them to celebrate)

Senior clergy from the non-episcopal participants were consecrated bishop (I can't remember if they were episcopally ordained, or perhaps conditionally ordained, or not) and from then on all new ordinations were episcopal. That's how the Anglicans got hold of the late, great, Leslie Newbigin, who when he returned to Britain was simultaneously a Bishop in the Church of England and an ordained minister in the Church of Scotland. (A Richard Baxter for our time)

I think that the early ordinations all involved a panel of bishops from each of the major participating denominations. So even if you had scruples about the consecration of one bishop or another you still could accept the ordinations (that might be a clue that at least some of the new bishops had not been episcopally ordained, but as I say I can't remember)


As for CSI priests being more frequent than CNI ones, that might just be because its three times the size. Christianity, of all sorts, is far more common, and probably older, in the four South Indian provinces than in the north. (Its the majority religion in some rural districts in the far north-east but their total population is small)

There is also the anomaly that there is another denomination in South India which is in communion with Anglicans but not part of CSI - the Mar Thoma church, which is unusual in that it is the product of a Protestant-style reform (or even Reform) among the ancient indigenous Christian church - no doubt it was influenced by Europeans but it wasn't initiated or led by them, and the denomination originates in the Oriental Orthodox liturgical tradition (though I have no idea how much of that it retains)

If all the "Thomas" churches in India were added together there might be about ten million people in them, making it the second largest Christian denomination there after the Roman Catholics. But they are split into four large and many small groups - some in communion with Rome, some with the Anglicans, some with the Syrian Jacobites (their original tradition), and I think maybe some with the Orthodox.

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Ken

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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Thanks, Ken.

I need to make a further clarification that in the case of TEC and the ELCA, our bishops act as co-consecrators for each other's new bishops, so the flow goes in both directions. ELCA bishops, even if not in historic succession, are co-consecrators of new TEC bishops, and vice versa. It's not structured in a uni-directional way so that the ELCA simply ends up with Anglican orders. This, of course, is based on the formal mutual recognition of each other as true Churches that both already possess valid sacraments. The opinions of individuals may obviously differ, as do those expressed by Zach (who is playing a useful role here in reminding us of Anglican resistances to a United Church combining traditions and ministries from Churches outside generally recognised Anglican ones).

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Beeswax Altar
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Cottontail is correct however. Many of us who believe in apostolic succession would assert that inviting the Lutheran bishop to participate in the laying on of hands is a mere courtesy. I'm OK extending the courtesy if the Lutherans are OK with allowing Episcopal bishops to lay hands on Lutheran bishops to be. Are orders valid without apostolic succession? I would lean towards no. However, when a Lutheran pastor celebrates, I always receive. Heck, when a Methodist (or any other orthodox pastor)celebrates or officiates, I receive if invited. At worse, it's the courteous thing to do and bonus if it turns out to be valid and efficacious.

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uffda
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Since Lietuvos originally framed his comments in the North American context, I am basing my remarks within the same context.

The issue of the historic episcopate is a uniquely Episcopal/Anglican trigger. Since it has become so much clearer that Rome is only interested in returning the rest of us to their fold, and that no matter how you dress it up as an "ordinariate" there will be no give on the validity of any Reformation Church orders, I believe North American Anglicans have to decide how much that plank in the Lambeth Quadrilateral is worth holding onto. By saying that, I'm in no way implying that they should change their way of ordering ministry among themselves. I'm asking is it worh insisting upon it for full communion with other churches, when any churches with whom they have a realistic hope of
achieving full communion simply don't care about it?

We ELCA Lutherans went along with this scheme to bring our bishops into the historic episcopate by having Episcopal Bishops participate in the installation of our bishops, but in reality, I can't think of more than a dozen or so pastors of Lutheran Congregations who ever think about it or care about it. It simply makes little impact on us, except that it caused some splintering at the beginning by those opposed to the scheme.

It's no surprise to any on the Ship that North American Christianity has been undergoing seismic shifts based on sex/gender issues, biblical authority issues, and liberal/ conservative political issues. It's certainly true that Episcopalians are no longer in communion with one another. The same has proved true for Lutherans. I'm sure other denominations are also approching the schism point. Who do we want to be in full communion with? Which Anglicans? Which Lutherans?

Instead of trying to resolve differences why not simply decide if the differences we have need to be church-dividing ones? If not, it seems to me that full communion can simply be declared, realizing that each denomination will continue to do things according to their own patterns and ways.

For North American Episcopalians/Anglicans to continue to insist that their orders are valid in the historic succession and must be embraced by others for full communion, only makes sense if
there is any hope of such recognition by Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Since such hope seems non-existent, North American Episcopalians/Anglicans run the risk of isolating themselves from the new ecumenical links that are being forged.

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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I want to avoid a tangent on the basis of sacramental validity, because whether or not it's a dead horse, I suspect it would take us far afield into an unresolvable morass. Obviously, BA, you don't perceive that you are committing sacrilege by receiving Holy Communion from a Eucharistic celebrant not in apostolic succession as Anglicans traditionally understand the concept (at least since the Tractarians; pre-Tractarian understandings tended to be rather different). Thus, practice and implied belief on the ground is rather different than the "official" Anglican position. ISTM that most of us don't regard the ministries and sacraments of those outside the historic episcopal succession as inefficacious; beyond that it's shades of viewpoint along a continuum. I would say that the presence of a Lutheran bishop not in the historic succession as a co-consecrator at the consecration of a TEC bishop doesn't add to the new bishop's lineage in the unbroken episcopal succession, but does add a validation from another Christian communion of the Reformation and hence a mark of visible unity of the Church Catholic that the newly ordained bishop would otherwise lack. Is that essential to his/her episcopal ministry? No. Is it a good thing? Yes, IMO. Is it nothing more than a mere courtesy? No, IMO.
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Zach82
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quote:
For North American Episcopalians/Anglicans to continue to insist that their orders are valid in the historic succession and must be embraced by others for full communion, only makes sense if
there is any hope of such recognition by Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

I cannot even imagine why one should follow from the other. I don't believe in the apostolicity of our orders just to make the Bishop of Rome like us. I believe in it because I think it is true and an essential mark of the Church of Christ.

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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Thanks, uffda. Your concluding paragraph is what I was also trying to say, less cogently, in one of my foregoing posts.
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Sober Preacher's Kid

Presbymethegationalist
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ken's off a bit. He forgot the Uniting Church of Australia (1977) and the United Church of Canada (1925) which are Methodist/Congregationalist/Presbyterian mergers. South India paid a lot of attention to what the United Church of Canada did when they had their own merger in 1949. There is also the United Christian Church of the Philippines and others.

Second, South India's procedure was to have two lists of clergy. A-list clergy were from non-Anglican Negotiating churches. They could not move into former Anglican parishes without become B-list clergy who were ordained by a bishop. It was their choice to make the jump. All new clergy were B-list clergy and could go anywhere, the A list was transitional and doesn't exist anymore.

The South India Basis of Union made provision for bishops, hence Leslie Newbiggin, but it also said that the primate would be called the Moderator, a standard heritage-mixing procedure the United Church of Canada also uses.

Though if you want to "do up" churches like the UCCan or PCUSA in a way both we and Anglicans will accept, you fly in South or North India bishops, who are also Ministers, do do some ordinations and ordain all new ministers as bishops. The ordination liturgy would have to added to. But nothing that was there gets taken away.

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CL
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
Ken, like the Church of South India? I've encountered some CofSI priests functioning in TEC. Interestingly, never any Church of North India. Not sure how the mergers were effected. Care to comment?

I probably need to check some books for the details, but IIRC there was mutual recognition of ordained ministry from the outset (though in practice no doubt some of the Anglicans had finicky reservations about non-episcopally ordained priests and omitted to invite them to celebrate)

Senior clergy from the non-episcopal participants were consecrated bishop (I can't remember if they were episcopally ordained, or perhaps conditionally ordained, or not) and from then on all new ordinations were episcopal. That's how the Anglicans got hold of the late, great, Leslie Newbigin, who when he returned to Britain was simultaneously a Bishop in the Church of England and an ordained minister in the Church of Scotland. (A Richard Baxter for our time)

I think that the early ordinations all involved a panel of bishops from each of the major participating denominations. So even if you had scruples about the consecration of one bishop or another you still could accept the ordinations (that might be a clue that at least some of the new bishops had not been episcopally ordained, but as I say I can't remember)


As for CSI priests being more frequent than CNI ones, that might just be because its three times the size. Christianity, of all sorts, is far more common, and probably older, in the four South Indian provinces than in the north. (Its the majority religion in some rural districts in the far north-east but their total population is small)

There is also the anomaly that there is another denomination in South India which is in communion with Anglicans but not part of CSI - the Mar Thoma church, which is unusual in that it is the product of a Protestant-style reform (or even Reform) among the ancient indigenous Christian church - no doubt it was influenced by Europeans but it wasn't initiated or led by them, and the denomination originates in the Oriental Orthodox liturgical tradition (though I have no idea how much of that it retains)

If all the "Thomas" churches in India were added together there might be about ten million people in them, making it the second largest Christian denomination there after the Roman Catholics. But they are split into four large and many small groups - some in communion with Rome, some with the Anglicans, some with the Syrian Jacobites (their original tradition), and I think maybe some with the Orthodox.

Claudius Buchanan, snake belly low CofE minister.

Re OO liturgical traditions; bugger all.

[ 25. April 2012, 18:13: Message edited by: CL ]

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"Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ." - Athanasius of Alexandria

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
quote:
For North American Episcopalians/Anglicans to continue to insist that their orders are valid in the historic succession and must be embraced by others for full communion, only makes sense if
there is any hope of such recognition by Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

I cannot even imagine why one should follow from the other. I don't believe in the apostolicity of our orders just to make the Bishop of Rome like us. I believe in it because I think it is true and an essential mark of the Church of Christ.
An agreed position in ecumenical discussions between TEC and other Reformation Churches is that no single institution is of the Church's esse - only the Gospel is that. Another aspect of discussions - more arguable - is that apostolic succession is not to be conflated with the historic episcopate. TEC has already recognised the validity of the ordained ministries in other Reformation Churches, but has required that in order for there to be interchangeability of ordained ministers, there has to further reconciliation of the ministries/orders of the participant Churches. This would seem to be code for acquisition of the historic episcopate by the other side, as was the case with the ELCA. We seem to have reached agreements on interim eucharistic hosptiality and occasional ministerial interchanges with the UMC and PCUSA, thus the same situation we were in for several years with the ELCA and its immediate predecessor Lutheran bodies. Whether we can succeed in moving forward with the UMC and PCUSA as we did with the ELCA remains to be seen. In some ways it would seem fairly readily plausible with the UMC, since they have episcopal structure (indeed UMC bishops have historically held more despotic powers than TEC ones). What they don't have is an episcopate based on the historic succession, but that's rather easily remedied. Social issues are likely to be of greater import, given the vastness and diversity of the UMC in comparison to little TEC.
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uffda
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I wanted to clarify my remarks earlier. Zach has been clear enough that he does not favor ecumenical agreements that water down the Anglican understanding of orders. Fair enough. My point regarding orders is this: there are churches that regard apostolic succession by laying on of hands as key for the validity of ministry; and there are churches that look for apostolic continuity of teaching or some other paradigm as key.

The big players in the apostolic succession group, the RCC and Orthodox, have looked at the
claims of the Anglican Church for valid orders and have judged them invalid. That's a matter of record. It in no way means that the Anglican Church needs to accept that judgment. It just means that if the Anglican Church wants to continue to say that full communion is impossible with churches not in apostolic succession, their range of potential full communion partners will be somewhat limited.
If Lutheran pastors are welcome to preside at Episcopal altars, without an ordination in apostolic succession, it seems to me that LSvK is correct to say that apostolic succession is not of the "esse" of the Church. And if it's not of the esse of the Church, why insist on it as a condition for full communion as LSvK outlined in his opening post?

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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uffda wrote:
quote:
And if it's not of the esse of the Church, why insist on it as a condition for full communion as LSvK outlined in his opening post?

The usual response to that is that it is of the bene esse of the church, i.e. it is something that we should do even though it may not be defining.

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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I have some comments/questions but I'm on my iPhone at the mo' and have to wait until I get home. Uffda, keep checking in!
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Zach82
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One instance of compromising our beliefs for the sake of ecumenism doesn't justify another, neither do these instances mean the apostolicity of Episcopal orders is straight out the door forever. We could, you know, just stop doing that sort of thing just to make Presbyterians like us.

Zach

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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First, I'm sure my thread title was ill-advised. I should probably have called it something less conceptual and more to the functional point of the topic. Would've got better participation, I think.

Second, I'm very grateful that the ELCA were good sports about taking on what amounts basically to Anglican orders! What I wonder is if it was made easier for the ELCA to consent to taking on the historic episcopate because (1) they already had bishops, albeit outside the historic succession; (2) several other Lutheran Churches worldwide already possessed the historic succession of bishops in unbroken line pre-dating the Reformation. Comments from uffda or other Lutheran shippies would be appreciated.

Third, I really don't think we're just trying to make Presbyterians like us by making concessions in the interest of Christian unity. That's a snide trivialisation. I would think, however, that it would be a lot more difficult for a Church essentially founded on the principle of presbyterial governance to make the same concessions as the ELCA or potentially the UMC.

Fourth, having observed so many bishops not only in TEC but in other Churches possessing historic episcopal succession, behaving badly and being anything but edifying governors of Christ's Holy Catholic Church, I am hard pressed to say that the historic episcopate is of the bene esse of the Church. Indeed, it would be easier for me to concede that it may be of the plene esse, yet no more prone to ensuring the bene esse of the Church than any other form of ministry and governance. Could just be some ironic joke on the part of the Holy Spirit.

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Olaf
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
uffda wrote:
quote:
And if it's not of the esse of the Church, why insist on it as a condition for full communion as LSvK outlined in his opening post?

The usual response to that is that it is of the bene esse of the church, i.e. it is something that we should do even though it may not be defining.
Order is obviously the big sticking point. Compromise would be necessary to achieve this union, which I do believe will happen in the next hundred years.

I would suggest these possible models:

Plan A
From TEC's tradition:
- Phase in the historic episcopate (as now with TEC-ELCA)
- Allow no exceptions to this

From ELCA's tradition:
- Impose election terms on all bishops
- Restrict episcopal election to only the diocese

From PCUSA's tradition:
- Ordain elders/deacons elected within the congregation as a minor order

From UMC's tradition:
- I'm open to suggestion...

Plan B:
- Hold local meetings wherein all clergy are conditionally re-ordained with the laying on of hands by leaders of all participating denoms or by likewise conditionally re-ordained sub-leaders.

----------------

Truth be told, I believe this is a generational issue. People 50 years ago were rather particular about being Episcopal or Lutheran or Methodist. In my humble opinion, this doesn't seem to be as big of an issue for younger generations. Give it some time, and we will figure it out.

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Zach82
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quote:
Second, I'm very grateful that the ELCA were good sports about taking on what amounts basically to Anglican orders...
I imagine they value the arrival of apostolic orders in their denomination about as much as we value the arrival of Lutheran orders in our denomination.

quote:
Third, I really don't think we're just trying to make Presbyterians like us by making concessions in the interest of Christian unity. That's a snide trivialisation. I would think, however, that it would be a lot more difficult for a Church essentially founded on the principle of presbyterial governance to make the same concessions as the ELCA or potentially the UMC.
The UMC has an office called "Bishop," but they do not believe in episcopacy. They only have two orders of ministry.

quote:
Fourth, having observed so many bishops not only in TEC but in other Churches possessing historic episcopal succession, behaving badly and being anything but edifying governors of Christ's Holy Catholic Church, I am hard pressed to say that the historic episcopate is of the bene esse of the Church.
The life of the Church is the unconditional, gratuitous gift of God. Or so I believe anyway.

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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You must be dismayed, Zach, that General Convention hasn't agreed with you.

The office of bishop in the UMC,as I stated, has at least in the past possessed even greater power than bishops in TEC. Yes, they don't have the historic succession, but they are episcopally structured. Remember the old Methodist Episcopal Church? Well, of course you don't and neither do I, as we are both too young, but I wager we've both seen cornerstones and suchlike inscribed "St. [Someone] M.E. Church". The Methies have an episcopate; they just don't have the historic episcopal succession. Being a former Methodist yourself, surely you would know that.

BTW, I do welcome Lutheran clergy functioning in TEC. Apparently a majority of our democratic governance structures do as well.

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Zach82
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I am indeed dismayed by our Church's willingness to compromise its beliefs. I want it to stop, not do it more.

I used to be a United Methodist you know, so you can trust me when I tell you that Methodists to not see the episcopacy as a distinct order of ministry from the priesthood.

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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Triple Tiara

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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
uffda wrote:
quote:
And if it's not of the esse of the Church, why insist on it as a condition for full communion as LSvK outlined in his opening post?

The usual response to that is that it is of the bene esse of the church, i.e. it is something that we should do even though it may not be defining.
Oh foolish Anglicans! You believe Bishops to be desirable but not necessary, whereas any Catholic could tell you that Bishops are necessary but not desirable! [Big Grin]

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uffda
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I don't have too much anecdotal information about the relationship between Lutherans in the historic episcopate and those not in it, except that I heard that in the early Post-WWI times, Swedish Bishops came to the US to offer the historic episcopate to the Swedish Augustana Lutheran Synod and were politely told 'No, thanks!" I also don't know if there has been a formal judgment on Scandinavian Lutheran orders by Rome similar to that of Leo XIII in 1896 with the Anglicans, but they are not treated as valid.

I do agree that in 20-50 years all this will be sorted out and the face of American Christianity will look different than it does today. I personally have enjoyed working with Episcopalians, and have always been made to feel welcome at worship, ordinations, clergy retreat days, and the like. In the Holy Week just past, I was invited to lead the noon Eucharist at the local Episcopal Church, so the clergy there might be with their Bishop for the Chrism Mass.
I was very well treated by those who came to worship that day.

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sonata3
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quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
First, I'm sure my thread title was ill-advised. I should probably have called it something less conceptual and more to the functional point of the topic. Would've got better participation, I think.

Second, I'm very grateful that the ELCA were good sports about taking on what amounts basically to Anglican orders! What I wonder is if it was made easier for the ELCA to consent to taking on the historic episcopate because (1) they already had bishops, albeit outside the historic succession; (2) several other Lutheran Churches worldwide already possessed the historic succession of bishops in unbroken line pre-dating the Reformation. Comments from uffda or other Lutheran shippies would be appreciated.


I appreciate this thread.
I have to wonder if it is useful for Anglicans and Lutherans to continue to obsess about the "historic succession," when the two largest Christian denominations world-wide are convinced that neither of our denominations has in fact preserved the historic succession.
Some Lutheran churches have bishops, some do not; some believe that they have preserved the historic succession (or have regained it), some do not. But, unless I am mistaken, none believe it to be an essential part of being "church."
Finally, whatever happened to the World Council of Churches' BEM as a starting point for discussion for a "Reformed Catholic Church of the Americas."?

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"I prefer neurotic people; I like to hear rumblings beneath the surface." Stephen Sondheim

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
uffda wrote:
quote:
And if it's not of the esse of the Church, why insist on it as a condition for full communion as LSvK outlined in his opening post?

The usual response to that is that it is of the bene esse of the church, i.e. it is something that we should do even though it may not be defining.
Oh foolish Anglicans! You believe Bishops to be desirable but not necessary, whereas any Catholic could tell you that Bishops are necessary but not desirable! [Big Grin]
Exactly what I suggested, TT: of the plene esse perhaps, yet not of the bene esse! God evidently has a highly ironic sense of humour.
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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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I actually think Anglicans should take to heart the critiques of Rome and the Orthodox. The problem - whether you agree with the logic or not - that Leo XIII and his commission found wasn't in the continuity of the tactual succession of bishops in the CofE, but rather the aspect of intention in Anglican orders since the Edwardian Reformation. At the time, the ABC and the ABY forcefully and competently argued against the reasoning used in the papal bull and in defence of Anglican orders. I agree with the arguments put forth by the CofE primates. Be that as it may, the Orthodox have generally questioned Anglican orders on the same basic grounds: an absence of doctrinal apostolicity even in the presence of an apparently unbroken tactual succession of episcopal consecrations. Further, the modern problems that these bodies perceive with Anglican orders again essentially boil down to defect of intention, in terms of the innovation of extending ordination to women, the subtext would again seem to be that we are not intending to do what the Catholic Church intends to do in ordination (even if wrapped up in language about unalterable tradition).

My argument would be that either we Anglicans fully face the reality that we are a Church of the Reformation or we don't. It is entirely legitimate for us to hold that we possess valid and catholic orders and that we have changed nothing essential in extending the sacrament of holy orders to the female gender. However, at the same time, we should be honest that here we are applying principles that are intrinsic to, and grow out of, the Reformation. Likewise, those Reformation Churches in which the national episcopate actively participated as protagonists of the Reformation retained the historic tactual succession of bishops; those Churches in which the bishops fled or the episcopate were deposed after putting themselves in opposition to the local prince were put in the position of making a virtue out of necessity and altering the previous shape of the historic ordained ministry, adopting some form of presbyterial synodical governance, ministry and ordination. This was a response to an emergency situation, but was rationalised on the basis of various theological apologetics. OTOH, the papacy has now been in an almost 600 year old snit fit over these bodies that left its jurisdiction, refusing to fully acknowledge them as true Churches, even after the passage of many centuries in which they have been manifestly proclaiming the Gospel and dispensing the sacraments. Hence, I agree with Zach that we don't need to judge the validity of our holy orders by Rome's standards, but I disagree with his implication that our orders are utterly unchanged from the status quo during the reign of Henry VIII.

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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Sorry, typo -- of course it's only an almost 500 year old tantrum on the part of Rome, but that still seems a very long time to be insisting "my way or the highway".
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jordan32404
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
I am indeed dismayed by our Church's willingness to compromise its beliefs. I want it to stop, not do it more.

I used to be a United Methodist you know, so you can trust me when I tell you that Methodists to not see the episcopacy as a distinct order of ministry from the priesthood.

I believe, though, that there has been a debate within Anglicanism as to whether or not the episcopacy is a separate "order" or a separate "office". The earliest BCPs refer to the "consecration of Bishops" not ordination. The 1662 says "The Consecrating and Ordering" so as to affirm both.
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Zach82
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quote:
I have to wonder if it is useful for Anglicans and Lutherans to continue to obsess about the "historic succession," when the two largest Christian denominations world-wide...
Again, Rome's opinions about our orders are irrelevent. We aren't maintining historic succession for the pope's sake.

quote:
Hence, I agree with Zach that we don't need to judge the validity of our holy orders by Rome's standards, but I disagree with his implication that our orders are utterly unchanged from the status quo during the reign of Henry VIII.
I think the point of contention is how central apostolicity is to our understanding of Holy Orders. I don't think some of the present arrangements we have with other denominations really honor that, and I can't see that throwing bishops at denominations as a mere formality would honor that either.

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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SeraphimSarov
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quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
Sorry, typo -- of course it's only an almost 500 year old tantrum on the part of Rome, but that still seems a very long time to be insisting "my way or the highway".

Or steadfastness

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"For those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing they like"

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Gramps49
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As to the question of whether there was a Lutheran body that retained the historical apostolic succession: yes, the State Lutheran Church of Norway claims it. When king Olaf of Norway became Lutheran, all the Bishops within his realm either followed suit or left the realm. Few left.

To be frank, the term "Holy Orders" kind of grates to these Lutheran ears. I think Lutherans shy away from the term because of the abuse of power we experienced in the Holy Roman Empire which lead up to the Lutheran Reformation. Long story. Books have been written on this--this medium is too limited to fully explain it.

For Lutherans a Bishop is pretty limited in his/her powers. The Bishop is elected to be the chief pastor of the local synod, he becomes the pastor to the pastors. He is also the chief administrator of the synodical functions, but he works with the advice and consent of the synod council which is made up of clergy and lay. He can advise congregations if asked and only with the consent of the pastor (usually pro forma). He will work with a congregation that is vacant in finding a new pastor--and there are procedures for that. He or She will usually nominate three candidates based on the congregational profile, but it ultimately is the congregation who decides whom to call.

Lutheran Bishops are in office for a limited time. They can be re-elected as each term ends. There have been times when bishops will resign their office just so they can go back into parish ministry.

Lutheran pastors become ordained once they have a valid call from a congregation or other calling authority (a special ministry, for instance). Again, this is in response to some abuses Lutherans experienced in Germany. Pastoral candidates, though must be approved by the regional ELCA synods, though. Once a minister is ordained, that ordination is usually recognized as permanent, but the license to preach and administer the sacraments can be withdrawn but only by action of the synod council, never on the whim of an individual bishop. If a pastor should leave the ministry for whatever reason, he or she would have to apply to be re licensed through the synodical pastoral candidacy board.

We do have a deaconate that has ebbed and flowed through the years--this seems to be coming back, but again it is only at the behest of local congregations or other calling authority, though they also must have the approval of the regional ELCA Synods.

And, yes, we do have minor ordinates usually under the auspices of a local synod.

Maybe Ufda can clarify or expand on these remarks.

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Gramps49
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Maybe the Original Poster should look into the background of the Churches Uniting in Christ of which TEL and the ELCA are members.
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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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Actually, it was Sweden that maintained the historic succession. Wasn't Norway a Danish possession at the time? Denmark I thought had lost the succession but maintained an episcopate that is only decorative in that the bishops have no real executive authority over the synods. Several national Lutheran Churches such as that in Lithuania have regained the historic succession; Latvia either maintained or re-established their's (the country was under Swedish control for a long time prior to the Russian and Soviet hegemonies). A number of newer Lutheran Churches in missionary fields such as Latin America also had gained an episcopate in historic succession prior to the ELCA. So, the historic succession was maintained some places - notably in Sweden - and restored in others. Since episcopal polity is an option amongst Lutherans - the other option basically being presbyterial governance - I had asked whether this may have made it easier for the ELCA to take on the historic succession (they already had the office of bishop, not in the historic succession). IOW, it's a rather different case to that of Presbyterians or the Congregationalists/United Church of Christ.

It's worthwhile considering that the 17th Century Scots were willing to have their historic episcopal sees filled as long as the bishops were merely decorative figure-heads, serving in the context of presbyterian governance. It was only when the Stuarts also insisted on the bishops having actual juridical authority that trouble ensued (of course, trying to impose the BCP was likewise ultra-offensive).

In terms of actual governance, one should consider that TEC actually has a quasi-presbyterian polity with a weak episcopate. Bishops in TEC ordain and confirm, but their independent executive authority is very limited. They are symbols of unity (or supposed to be, anyway) more than CEOs, much less despots. TEC is a largely lay-governed Church.

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sonata3
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
As to the question of whether there was a Lutheran body that retained the historical apostolic succession: yes, the State Lutheran Church of Norway claims it. When king Olaf of Norway became Lutheran, all the Bishops within his realm either followed suit or left the realm. Few left.


I believe there are now five LWF churches that claim that their bishops are in the historic succession: Norway, Finland, Sweden, El Salvador, and Tanzania.
When the Church of Sweden and Church of England were moving toward intercommunion in the early 20th century, the Church of Sweden insisted, "Don't implement this because of the historic episcopate -- we are an apostolic church with or without it."
It is of interest that there have been Lutheran/Anglican ecumenical agreements that do not (as CCM does) make a mutual recognition of ministries dependent upon extending the historic succession to the Lutheran body.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by sonata3:

When the Church of Sweden and Church of England were moving toward intercommunion in the early 20th century, the Church of Sweden insisted, "Don't implement this because of the historic episcopate -- we are an apostolic church with or without it."

Of course they are in total intercommunion now, along with the other Nordic and Baltic Luteran churches and the Anglicans in Europe, if not the rest of the world. All the Porvoo churches recognise each others ministries, so bishops, priests, and deacons ordained in one can serve in another without re-ordination. Their website claims that the Anglican churches and Sweden and Finland preserved a continuous episcopal successtion but that in Denmark, Norway and Iceland it was broken and has since been re-established.

The Porvoo Agreement is not worded so as to establish intercommunion, it claims to recognise that communion was never formally broken and establish closer fellowship between churches that have a lot in common. The part of the Agreement that deals with the historic episcopal succession is here

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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The second paragraph in Ken's post above is important, in that prior to the ascendency of the Tractarians and their Anglo-Catholic progeny, the attitude of the CofE as far as I understand it was that it and the continental Lutherans were on the same page, regardless of whether or not any particular national Lutheran Church had bishops in an unbroken historic succession. George I didn't come over and suddenly encounter a new and different Church from the one in his princely German state: it was taken to be a Church in the same faith, whether or not one had bishops in historic succession and the other one didn't.
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Honest Ron Bacardi
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quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
uffda wrote:
quote:
And if it's not of the esse of the Church, why insist on it as a condition for full communion as LSvK outlined in his opening post?

The usual response to that is that it is of the bene esse of the church, i.e. it is something that we should do even though it may not be defining.
Oh foolish Anglicans! You believe Bishops to be desirable but not necessary, whereas any Catholic could tell you that Bishops are necessary but not desirable! [Big Grin]
Ho ho ho, TT!

But also tsk tsk tsk. I'm not reporting my views, but rather what my more evangelical brethren tell me. I just thought it worth interjecting it to see if it got taken up, this being more of an exercise in looking in a protestant rather than a catholic direction.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Gramps49
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I stand corrected about my statements about the Lutheran Church in Norway. It does claim apostolic succession, but how I was wrong in how it came to be. It was late at night when I posted, and I was trying to watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report while typing. Am not very good at multitasking.
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Comper's Child
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
quote:
Originally posted by Triple Tiara:
quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
uffda wrote:
quote:
And if it's not of the esse of the Church, why insist on it as a condition for full communion as LSvK outlined in his opening post?

The usual response to that is that it is of the bene esse of the church, i.e. it is something that we should do even though it may not be defining.
Oh foolish Anglicans! You believe Bishops to be desirable but not necessary, whereas any Catholic could tell you that Bishops are necessary but not desirable! [Big Grin]
Ho ho ho, TT!

But also tsk tsk tsk. I'm not reporting my views, but rather what my more evangelical brethren tell me. I just thought it worth interjecting it to see if it got taken up, this being more of an exercise in looking in a protestant rather than a catholic direction.

Wasn't it Gregory Dix (of blessed memory) who said Bishops are a necessary evil - very necessary and very evil? !
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CL
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quote:
Originally posted by uffda:
I don't have too much anecdotal information about the relationship between Lutherans in the historic episcopate and those not in it, except that I heard that in the early Post-WWI times, Swedish Bishops came to the US to offer the historic episcopate to the Swedish Augustana Lutheran Synod and were politely told 'No, thanks!" I also don't know if there has been a formal judgment on Scandinavian Lutheran orders by Rome similar to that of Leo XIII in 1896 with the Anglicans, but they are not treated as valid.

I do agree that in 20-50 years all this will be sorted out and the face of American Christianity will look different than it does today. I personally have enjoyed working with Episcopalians, and have always been made to feel welcome at worship, ordinations, clergy retreat days, and the like. In the Holy Week just past, I was invited to lead the noon Eucharist at the local Episcopal Church, so the clergy there might be with their Bishop for the Chrism Mass.
I was very well treated by those who came to worship that day.

There hasn't because no one has asked for one. Apostolicae curae was issued in response to certain Anglican inquiries as to how Rome regarded their orders.

The Swedes maintained "tactile" succession while completely abandoning the underlying theology necessary for the transmission of valid orders, thus even if they had asked the response would be the same as Leo's.

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"Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ." - Athanasius of Alexandria

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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Yes, thanks for that CL. We're all now enlightened over the subject. But this is, in fact, the same objection Leo XIII found in respect to Anglican Orders: an historical defect of intention that was in part evidenced by allegedly defective form. Objections to Church of Sweden Orders would have been essentially the same. I think Leo's vaunted bull was just that, or perhaps more to point, what comes out of a bull's rear end. But that's not the topic of this thread.
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