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The Bishop of London is right about Anglicans using the Roman rite

One cannot be an Anglican and use the Roman Missal – it is one or the other

By on Monday, 21 November 2011

The Bishop of London has written a letter about the Eucharist, which makes interesting reading, and which can be read in full here. I am not an Anglican, and therefore it is not my place to comment on what Dr Chartres has to say to his flock, but there are some things that he says which reflect on us Catholics, which I feel I must comment on.

Dr Chartres writes:

In an age when Aristotle’s analysis of objects in the physical world as being composed of “essences and accidents” was widely accepted, transubstantiation was seen to have value as a picture of how the eucharistic elements were transformed. In the Windsor Agreed Statement which emerged from the first series of international discussions between Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians, transubstantiation appears only in a footnote as “affirming the fact of Christ’s presence and of the mysterious and radical change which takes place. In contemporary Roman Catholic theology it is not understood as explaining how the change takes place.”

While not wanting to dismiss the Windsor Agreed Statement as irrelevant, or criticizing the wording of that footnote, the truth of the matter is that the doctrine of transubstantiation is not a footnote in Catholic life, but central to Catholic belief, identity and practice. Nor does belief in transubstantiation depend on Aristotle, even if it borrows, or better steals, Aristotelian language. Long after Aristotle is forgotten, or is himself a footnote to theology, the doctrine of transubstantiation will be with us. Transubstantiation is not to be dismissed as an idea whose time has passed. It seems to me that if one were to ignore the clear doctrine of transubstantiation, one would pretty soon find oneself losing one’s belief in the true nature of the Mass as a sacrifice and the doctrine of the Real Presence.

The Bishop then goes on to talk about the “new rites” that the Catholic Church will be adopting this Advent. This is misleading. There are no new rites, there is merely a new translation of the Roman Rite. There has been no innovation, but rather a return to the original text, through greater fidelity to the Latin. But the Bishop says: “The new Roman rite varies considerably from its predecessor and thus from Common Worship as well.” The first part of this statement is simply factually incorrect; the second part leaves me wondering. What did the old translation have in common with Common Worship that the new translation does not? The Bishop refers to “a convergence of eucharistic doctrine and rites” between Anglicans and Catholics, but he gives no evidence for this optimistic view. Perhaps he means that Common Worship has been modeled on the old translation of the Roman Missal. But what he says about transubstantiation above indicates to me that there has been no substantial convergence, even if there may have been some accidental ones. (That Aristotelian language again!)

Then the Bishop delivers his bombshell, if it may be termed such:

Priests and parishes which do adopt the new rites – with their marked divergences from the ELLC [English Language Liturgical Consultation] texts and in the altered circumstances created by the Pope’s invitation to Anglicans to join the Ordinariate – are making a clear statement of their disassociation not only from the Church of England but from the Roman Communion as well. This is a pastoral unkindness to the laity and a serious canonical matter. The clergy involved have sworn oaths of canonical obedience as well as making their Declaration of Assent. I urge them not to create further disunity by adopting the new rites.

Of course, His Lordship is completely right about this. The use of the Roman Missal, in whatever translation, by someone, anyone, who is not authorised by a bishop in communion with Rome, is absolutely wrong. Dr Chartres even goes so far as to mention canon law, which is, I believe, but rarely invoked in the Anglican Communion, which shows how seriously he takes this matter.

The Bishop seems to be putting clear blue water between us Catholics and his own flock, perhaps more clearly than he intends. It is clearly wrong for Anglican clergy to use the Roman Missal, from both an Anglican point of view and from our point of view. But I would add this: the Roman Missal, especially in the new translation, reflects a very clear belief in the doctrine of transubstantiation which Anglicans do not hold. Therefore they should not use the Missal. Or if they do hold to the doctrine of transubstantiation, they should come into the Ordinariate.

“Three priests in the Diocese have taken this step. They have followed their consciences,” remarks the Bishop speaking of the Ordinariate. Is there a third way? It would seem not. Dr Chartres, while mentioning canon law and its obligations, nevertheless makes no threats: “There will be no persecution and no creation of ritual martyrs,” he says. But the appeal to conscience and indeed logic is clear in this powerfully argued letter. You cannot be an Anglican and use the Roman Missal. It is one or the other. On that all should agree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.lovelockjemmott Lee Der Heerskinderen Lovelock

    You can make all the assents one wants at your ordination service but having been an Anglican, I’ve seen many different types of ‘worship’ and that in itself tells the visitor or worshipper just how diverse and inconsistent doctrine and actual belief is in the Anglican Communion. To give an example, one might live in a ‘Anglo-Catholic’ Parish but then to categorise that further, it might be ‘affirming’ catholicism, FinF parish or ‘Catholic’ using BCP. Another example at the Evangelical end is ‘Calvinist’ evangelical which do exist to liberal evangelical who embrace women in the priesthood and attract the ire of their more puritanical evangelical fellows. Thus the need to believe in fundamentals is not really an issue at all as you can believe in anything.

  • Poppy Tupper

    And yet the Diocese of Dublin alone ordains more priests each year than all the RC dioceses put together. And, Apostolic, answer the question. Why don’t the Africans boost the numbers in your church?

  • Anonymous

    “less than ten people receiving the Precious Blood and yet there were two extraordinary ministers”

    Ah, my hobby horse – extraordinary ministers being used in ordinary circumstances! Why won’t priests READ Redemptionis Sacramentum? Are they too afraid of their bossy laity?

  • Poppy Tupper

    Why do so many Catholics clearly not believe in the real presence, then? 

  • Anonymous

    I know that the faith of the Church of England is established under Act of Parliament, most recently in 1974 in the Church of England (Worship and Doctrine) Measure 1974 http://www.churchsociety.org/issues_new/church/legal/iss_church_legal_worshipdoctrine1974.asp. Under that Act it is unlawful to be ordained as a clergymen in our established church without making an assent to the thirty-nine articles.

    Perhaps Dr Oddie can help by telling us whether before he was ordained in 1977 he was formally told that the faith of the Church of England was set forth in, among other documents, the thirty-nine articles and then said:

    I Willam Oddie, do so affirm, and accordingly declare my belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness; and in public prayer and administration of the sacraments,

    I will use only the forms of service which are authorised or allowed by Canon.

  • Anonymous

    “The church of Ireland has organic continuity with the church that St Patrick planted, unlike the Italian mission to the island.”

    No it hasn’t. It was ruptured when it adopted heresy. You’re delusional if you think St Patrick would have any truck with it.

  • Poppy Tupper

    Many were forced unwillingly into your church through stupid mixed marriage rules. They and their children have gone back. Just face the facts. Church of Ireland attendance has gone up, RC attendance has plummeted. 

  • Anonymous

    “They should get an Old Catholic to re-ordain them…”Which might make the men’s orders valid but illicit, but would not make their eucharists valid as they would not intend what the Church intends (in most cases) and certainly could never make the women’s orders (or the orders of those ordained by women, in the areas which now have female “bishops” ) valid, as nothing even can.

  • Anonymous

    @poppy. The Africans  et al do, but because the C of I is tiny a few make a big difference. Because the RCC is large you would need many more to make a biggish difference. Rather as the Poles have done.

  • Anonymous

    @ poppy Indeed The RCC attendance has gone down. We now only have six  Masses in my Parish, before we had nine. It was a bit surreal in the past. I know nothing of C of I attendances, but as I have already said I know of no-one who has joined the Church of Ireland. Many of my friends and family no longer attend, or less frequently. But none of them would dream of attending the Church knocked  together by Henry viii and successors.

  • Anonymous

    @ Poppy. Really bad formation and education since the second Vatican council. this is (very) slowly being rectified.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    They are not Catholics if they deny the real presence.

  • Rosina_elston

    When I discovered our local Anglican priest was using the Roman Catholic Missal and the Offices prayer book inside our local Church of England parish church I was horrified.  I thought his action deceitful and definitely ‘unkind’ to the Church of England members in this parish.  We have a Roman Catholic Church just across the road from our parish church.  I am happy to use these prayer books in a Roman Catholic Church if I visit, but our rector’s use of them symbolises a crisis of identity which those in the Church of England who share his views should make up their minds about.   Either be with us, or leave – you are free people in a free country after all!

  • Apostolic

    Whether African immigrants reinforce attendance at one church more than another is neither here not there. It might only tell you which part of Africa they are likely to have come from, for as Eveyln Waugh, former Anglican, once said, however `worldwide’ the Anglicans claimed to be, they could never be more than a national church. Certainly African immigrant attendance would provide nothing in support of the notion that the CofI was about to replace the Catholic Church in Ireland. Ditto numbers of ordinations. Time, of course, as ever, will tell. You would not be the first and won’t be the last to predict the demise of the Catholic Church in Ireland and the belated dawn of the Church of Ireland. You might study the fate of poor Reverend Nangle who had high hopes for his mission to poverty stricken Achill Island in the 1830s. As a vignette of such vain aspirations, it is as instructive as it is tragic. As for the silly notion that the Church of Ireland, for all its possession of ancient Irish church sites, is in continuity with the ancient Irish church, you might as well argue that Italian Waldensians are the successors to the early church in Italy but somehow, unlike the Church of Ireland, missed out on “retaining [hahah]” the ancient churches of Italy. Come to think of it, you would probably even argue that as well. Amazing what a motivator bigotry can be.

  • Anonymous

    A correction to my comment about ‘transsignification’ – it would, I think, be fairer to say that Paul VI’s words in Mysterium Fidei imply that this theory is inadequate, rather than absolutely wrong:

    “it is not permissible ….to discuss the mystery of transubstantiation without mentioning what the Council of Trent had to say about the marvelous conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body and the whole substance of the wine into the Blood of Christ, as if they involve nothing more than “transignification,” or “transfinalization” as they call it.” (Mysterium Fidei, No. 11)

  • Poppy Tupper

    That’s simple then. So membership of your church is considerably smaller than it appears on paper.

  • Poppy Tupper

    What have the Poles done? The statistics for your church are even more dismal if an influx of Poles can’t keep them buoyed up.

  • Mikethelionheart

    Oh dear Poppy, I see you believe that nonsense about continuity.
    It really must take some will-power to believe a church founded less than 500 years ago can trace itself back to over a 1000 years ago.
    You should try reading a history book sometime.
    You really are full of hatred and anger aren’t you?
    As to your second point most of the African immigrants to Ireland have been from Southern Nigeria, which has the largest Anglican population in the world and where Anglicans outnumber Catholics..

    Wouldn’t it be good if you actually found out about something before posting about it.

  • Mikethelionheart

    Poppy

    Just remind us all which part of Ireland you are from again……….

  • Poppy Tupper

    Mojo theology. 

  • Poppy Tupper

    Yeah, like he’d really be thrilled with your set up, too. 

  • Mikethelionheart

    Apostolic and Kafka

    Poppy probably also believes that the Catholic Church was founded by Constantine in the 4th Century, or at the schism in the 11th Cent, or at the council of Trent in the 15th Cent. Whichever is the latest anti-Catholic lie that is currently in vogue with Protestants at the moment.

    She comes across as an Evangelical more than an Anglican.

    If that’s her type of Christianity then she’s welcome to it.

  • Poppy Tupper

    Of course not. The Church of Ireland IS the Catholic church in Ireland. It was there first. Yours is an interloper. And to be quite honest the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ has been far more disruptive to any claim to continuity than a few events in the 16th century, so don’t try that trick. You abandoned the mass far more thoroughly than we ever did. 

  • Mikethelionheart

    Ha ha ha ha
    What utter drivel.
    I genuinely feel sprry for you if you really do believe that.

    Try taking history seriously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.lovelockjemmott Lee Der Heerskinderen Lovelock

    The Church of Ireland is that which was constituted under appropriated property from the Catholic Church and the Irish Parliament declared Henry VIII Supreme Ruler of The Church in 1536. The charters exist for this event still. To add to this, is the fact that Dublin’s Catholic Cathedral is still only ‘The Pro’ as two Cathedrals exist which were ex appropriated from the Catholic Church. Thus the C of I is purely a Parliamentary creation through and through. 

  • Mikethelionheart

    And you are, of course, able to back that assertion up with something…….????

    Thought not, ‘you people’ never can.

  • Mikethelionheart

    I suppose the thought of other churches suffering makes you really happy does it Poppy?

    Exactly what sort of ‘Christian’ are you, if any?

  • Mikethelionheart

    That’s a bit pot and kettle Poppy.
    All you’ve done on this thread is make trashy comments and insults and make claims that suggest you learn about history from crank and conspiracy theorists.

  • Cjkeeffe

    Here Here! To paraphrase CS Lewis said to a group of anglican clergymen. He does not doubt that they may have conscincous objections etc againgst the church. But leave if they become  to much. Its ratehr as he said a Conservative chairman having socialist leanings. Essential put up or get out.

  • Cjkeeffe

    Hi shouldn’t the proper term be the Latin Rite and not the Roman Rite, through of course one uses a Roman Missal?

  • Apostolic

    Yes, and the moon landing was a fraud enacted in a Hollywood studio, Elvis works in a chip shop in the East End, the Phoenicians built Great Zimbabwe and the Grand Lodge of England trace their origins back to the Temple of Solomon. Paaaleeese! Only the most numbskull earnest Anglican sidesman/part-time tour guide believes this drivel and certainly no professional ecclesiastical historian. On Fr Ed Tomlinson’s Tunbridge Wells site – he has since joined the Ordinate – Mr Tupper spent months churning out such unhistorical nonsense, in order to subvert his sincere reflections on such issues, but to no effect. The Church of Ireland and the Mass – what a joke! I’d be the first to admit to the poor taste of post-Vatican II pre-Benedict XVI liturgy but the notion that there is some continuity between the reformed CofI and the pre-Reformation church, beyond possession, thanks to state power, of ancient sites, is beyond ludicrous and deluded. Readers on here will soon figure out this aspect of Mr Tupper for themselves.

  • Anonymous

    He said it on national television word for word. My jaw dropped.

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    Well said. We really must realise thatt here is no courrt of appeal beyond that of history, if that does not sound too Marxist. But you say Mr Tupper…… is Poppy a boy’s name then? I am confused….

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    The profile suggests it is Ms or Miss… and not from Ireland at all but Lancashire.

  • Anonymous

    @Diadgraffix  What exactly do you mean by “consecrated bread”?

    Let’s have ministry reflecting the real presence and an acceptance of that real presence. Why not?

  • Apostolic

    Dear Fr Alexander,

    The consensus on Fr Ed Tomlinson’s website was that (the profile on here notwithstanding) Poppy Tupper is male. “Poppy Tupper” used to have a personal website which was, to say the least, sordid in its content and was subsequently removed. Less offensively, “Poppy Tupper” has an extreme attachment to a handful of Caroline Anglican divines, whose very occasional writings on the Virgin Mary are used to argue that Marian devotion remained entirely intact – indeed virtually a mass movement – despite the destruction of Walsingham etc – between the Reformation and the Oxford Movement. The Church of Ireland’s attitudes to the Virgin Mary was even more dismissive and bigoted, although doubtless Tupper will argue to the contrary in the face of all evidence. But to return to your original quesion, Fr Ed Tomlinson of the Tunbridge Wells Ordinariate knows Tupper’s true identity and would be able to help.

  • Anonymous

    @ Apostolic, and Fr.
                                     Its quite clear Poppy does not live in Ireland as he, yes he, knows not a jot about the situation here.

  • Anonymous

    Now that the Archbishop of Canterbury as publicly stated on television that “the Church of England is for those who like their Christianity light” your rector is very welcome to cross the Tiber.

    The Orthodox church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical church and the Pentecostal Church would all say that there is no place in any Church for “Christianity light” – This goes against ALL bible teaching.

    Why are you in a Church that abides with such an heretical abuse of the Bible?

  • Alexander Lucie-Smith

    Thanks, Apostolic. I have never met Fr Ed but hope to one day! All best, ALS

  • Apostolic

    Thanks, Fr Alexander. I should not be surprised if, thus rumbled, “Poppy Tupper” changes the nom de plume in pursuit of further disruption of the site, as she did on Fr Ed’s blog, but the preoccupations are usually a dead giveaway! All good wishes, A.

  • Apostolic

    PS That “she” should have been within quotation marks, as it would appear that Poppy Tupper is a retired clergyman based in the North of England.

  • Poppy Tupper

    You just can’t deny the facts and the statistics. Attendance has risen in the Church of Ireland, it has dropped in the RC church. There are more – loads more – ordinations every year in the Church of Ireland, and that’s even if you don’t count the women. Something is going on surely? And it’s not just about the Zimbabweans.

    You seem to feel the liberty, like others here, including the author, to crow triumphantly about the Ordinariate which you know nothing about, and which is quite plainly a crashing failure.

  • Anonymous

    “…transubstantiation appears only in a footnote as “affirming the fact of Christ’s presence and of the mysterious and radical change which takes place. In contemporary Roman Catholic theology it is not understood as explaining how the change takes place.””

    ## That is one of the worst parts of a very bad Statement :( The SCDF had a few things to say about that.

    “It seems to me that if one were to ignore the clear doctrine of transubstantiation, one would pretty soon find oneself losing one’s belief in the true nature of the Mass as a sacrifice and the doctrine of the Real Presence.”

    ## To be more exact, the substantiality of the Presence of Christ is what is slurred over – the Real Presence can be perfectly Real without being Substantial. It is the Substantial Presence of the Lord in the transubstantiated Eucharist Gifts that is the rock of offence to many; just as the Cross is; just as the Divine Maternity of the Mother of God is. To call her the mother of Christ is correct, but fatally incomplete. So with the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist; so with talking of the Messiah, but not of His Cross.

    Any ecumenism that slurs over these, or dilutes them into something less offensive, is not something worth bothering with. If the Eucharist did not make its eaters into the One they ate, it would be just another interesting Ancient Near Eastern cultic meal. And it can do that only because the whole substance of the gifts is transubstantiated into  the Whole Substance of the Body & Blood of Christ. That is more than a True Presence or a Real Presence alone – it is a Substantial Presence.

    “Or if they do hold to the doctrine of transubstantiation, they should come into the Ordinariate.”

    ## If they are at all like some Anglicans of the past, they will be Catholic in almost every respect; but will find that something in the CC or the C of E – not necessarily the same thing for each of them – stops them “Poping”. Expositions of transubstantiation have been written by Anglicans, such as Bishop Forbes of Brechin; they are not commonly found, but they are not unknown within Anglicanism either; “un-Anglican” as this may be. Belief in the Eucharist Mystery in the Catholic sense no more proves a man is a Catholic than does belief in the Divine Maternity of the Mother of God.

  • Anonymous

    Like Dave “heir of Blair” Cameron, perhaps ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ty.beiron Thomas Tyrone Beiron Tay

    That may have to do with local parish or diocesan church issues, some of which has been reported widely. Even in Jesus’ own time, when he spoke of himself as the Bread of Life (John 6:48-56), many of his disciples left him out of disbelief (v66), and Peter affirmed him as “the Holy One of God”. Whether it may be fibs or matter of doctrine (Transubstantiation, as an example), there will be those who will leave the Church. The question of fidelity is intended for those who chose to stay, and like Peter, take the whole Gospel and its hard bits purely on faith in Christ Jesus.

  • Apostolic

    For someone so supposedly confident about the imminent collapse of Catholicism, the failure of the Ordinariate and the imminent apostasy of masses of Catholics into the Church of Ireland, “Mr Tupper” seems very agitated indeed.

  • Poppy Tupper

    Not at all, Eoghain.

  • Poppy Tupper

    And, of course, Apostolic is not a failed Oratorian with an unhealthy fixation on sartorial matters

  • mikethelionheart

    Just as your triumphalism over the so-called Church of Ireland has been burst.

  • Poppy Tupper

    No it hasn’t. Not at all. Why ever would you think that?