Anglican Orders Valid - Pope Leo made factual Errors


#1

This has been tossed around before but as I understand it Pope Leo decided in 1896 that they were not valid based on a defect in form and intention. It was defective because in the ordinal of 1550 -1662 no explicit mention was made at the laying on of hands of the particular grade of ministry the person was being ordained to.

Staley notes this argument is crushed because in each service of ministry the grade of ministry is indicated again and again and that the services (“Form of ordering of Priests” and “Form of consecrating an archbishop and bishop”) is quite distinct. In fact in the 1550-1662 service book the words were taken out of scripture from Paul’s charge to Timothy Bishop of Ephesus. He goes on to note that the words in the Roman Pontifical are themselves even more vague and so for Leo to condemn Anglican orders would mean condemning those of the Roman Church.

Another objection had to do with removal of the intent to ordain in the Catholic intent. Staley notes this is incorrect and that the offending removed passage was only added to the Roman ordinal in the 11th century. He notes the Anglican church actually reverted to an earlier form used in the primitive Roman Church (Sacramentary of Leo the Great).

Staley quotes Catholic theologian Dr. Dollinger who notes " The solution to the question depends soley on historical evidence, and I must give it as the result of my investigations, that I have no manner of doubt as to the validity of the Episcopal succession in the English Church" (COnference at Bonn 1874).

My thought is that the Papal Bull of Leo had more to do with politics and practicality rather than validity. It would have been harmful to recognize the orders of what in some sense was an English Catholic Church when that church was in the process of amassing the most powerful and far reaching empire the world had known. That might have lead millions of would be Catholics to decide there was more acceptability in the Anglican Churches with the same validity and in the US may have lead Catholics to feel okay joining the Episcopal church which was much more socially acceptable.

Rev North


#2

I posted this on the non Catholic forum but not sure if it does not really belong here since it needs a defence of a Papal Bull that based on seeming facts and one contemporary Catholic Theologian’s opinion was in error. I would like to hear the counter arguments.

(Merged into Apologetics forum.
MF)


#3

A theologian’s opinions are not binding and carry little weight. If the Pope says the orders are invalid they’re invalid. We all know that King Henry VIII made a selfish and conscious decision to break from Rome and create his own route. Because of this, Anglicans cannot have valid orders anymore than Baptists or Pentecostals do. If they are outside the Church, how can they possibly have valid orders?

In Pax Christi
Andrew


#4

But that does NOT answer Staley’s refutation of Leo’s argumentation. Second, with respect you are incorrect. Neither the Orthodox nor the Polish National Catholic Church are in union with Rome and yet both have valid orders according to the Roman Catholic Church.

Staley seems to solidly refute Leo’s arguments and the Pope cannot just be right because he says he is…there MUST be a factual basis.

Rev North


#5

Henry VIII’s break with Rome had no effect on Anglican orders…even from the Catholic standpoint. The Pope decreed in Apostolicae Curae that the Anglican orders were invalid for alleged defects of form and intent arising out of the Edwardian ordinal.

newadvent.org/cathen/01644a.htm

The Eastern Orthodox and the Lefebvre group are outside of the visible Catholic Church yet they are considered to have valid orders.


#6

The Anglican Rebuttal squares itself on the paragraph that the Pope mentioned that the removal of the ordination rite was an evidence of the invalidity. However several prior paragraphs mention that the Anglicans removed everything not just changing around the ordination rite nor simply omitting things. The goes so far in Paragraph 30 to say:

For this reason, in the whole Ordinal not only is there no clear mention of the sacrifice, of consecration, of the priesthood (sacerdotium), and of the power of consecrating and offering sacrifice but, as we have just stated, every trace of these things which had been in such prayers of the Catholic rite as they had not entirely rejected,** was deliberately removed and struck out.**]

What we have here is clear intent of malice against the ordination rite. Simply omitting it is one thing but to take the axe and start cleaving out things that do not conform to the book of common prayer is itself a clear impedident to either form or intent.

That being said the arguement of anglo-catholics is relatively new as low church anglicans would be surprised that they offer the eucharist as a propitiatory sacrifice or a sacerdotal priesthood. The 39 articles reject both beliefs held by the Ancient Church.


#7

The problem is taht simply omitting things in the ordinal is not the issue though the pope uses that as evidence that there was malice done to the ordinal in which everything the Church believed about the sacrament was deliberately removed.


#8

Another objection had to do with removal of the intent to ordain in the Catholic intent. Staley notes this is incorrect and that the offending removed passage was only added to the Roman ordinal in the 11th century. He notes the Anglican church actually reverted to an earlier form used in the primitive Roman Church (Sacramentary of Leo the Great).

Doesn’t matter. The intent of the sacrament is be ordained sacerdotally was there even if implicitly. It doesn’t matter if the previous ordinals used it or not. But going back to use this ordinal rite while not having the intent to ordain a person sacerdotaly to the priesthood it still is invalid. Anglicans can come up with all the excuses by appealing to previous ordinals or Orthodox ordinations all they want. The fact the Anglicans hold to the 39 Articles and use the Book of Common prayer that lists the sacrifice of the mass an optional thing to do does not make them priests. This makes paragraph 30 of AC that much more compelling.


#9

deleted


#10

The issue of Apostolicae Curae is a very complicated one, and the points that Staley made, as well as the rebuttals posted here, have been made in many places by many people. For the best exposition of the RC position (how many time I must have posted this), see (then Jesuit) Fr. Francis Clark’s ANGLICAN ORDERS AND DEFECT OF INTENTION. For the best (and, to my mind, conclusive) rebuttal, see Fr. J. J. Hughes’ ABSOLUTELY NULL AND UTTERLY VOID and STEWARDS OF THE LORD. The latter are heavy on history and the theology of the day, esp. that related to the theory of eucharistic sacrifice.

The theological points are what are most often discussed, but, to my mind, equally crucial are the personalities involved, and the history of the events that occurred between the time that Halifax and Portal met, and the time when *Apostolicae Curae * was issued over Leo XIII’s signature. And the figure of Cardinal Vaughan looms very large in all that, indeed.

Whatever the arguments, it is certainly true that the RCC does not recognise the validity of Anglican orders, generally. And RCs should certainly affirm that. Anglicans have a different view.

And, all that aside, and hearkening back to the title of the thread, there is one factual error in the Bull.

GKC

Anglicanus Catholicus


#11

Anglicans, in general, may or may not affirm the 39 Articles. They are not a form of Confession, and are binding (in theory) only on ordinands of the Church of England, and that only due to the CoE’s Erastian nature. Other Anglicans are free to affirm them, affirm some of them (as I am sure any RC would), or cut them from the BCP and use them to kindle the fire at Easter. They are an historical document, that reflect how Elizabeth I chose to govern her fractious Church, and about the only thing I like in the Episcopalian’s 1979 book, is where the Articles are placed.

GKC


#12

GKC…thanks for posting. Was hoping you might. You are our local expert on all things Anglican in relation to Roman Catholicism. :tiphat:

Rev North


#13

Thanks for that. But if Joe shows up, he usually pounds me through the floor.

*Apostolicae Curae * is not an easy topic.

GKC


#14

This has been tossed around before but as I understand it Pope Leo decided in 1896 that they were not valid based on a defect in form and intention. It was defective because in the ordinal of 1550 -1662 no explicit mention was made at the laying on of hands of the particular grade of ministry the person was being ordained to.

Staley notes this argument is crushed because in each service of ministry the grade of ministry is indicated again and again and that the services (“Form of ordering of Priests” and “Form of consecrating an archbishop and bishop”) is quite distinct. In fact in the 1550-1662 service book the words were taken out of scripture from Paul’s charge to Timothy Bishop of Ephesus. He goes on to note that the words in the Roman Pontifical are themselves even more vague and so for Leo to condemn Anglican orders would mean condemning those of the Roman Church.

Staley holds that the words Accipe Spiritum Sanctum ONLY are the form in the Roman liturgy. I think at best it can be characterized as a minority opinion (but please contradict me if I am wrong) because the number of authors who accept Accipe Spiritum Sanctum usually also admit Deus, honor omnium dignitatum while some go further and insist on Hoc, Domine, copiose . Variously also some also admit Accipe Evangelium.

And certainly in Deus, honor omnium dignitatum the prayer expresses the order conferred. Hoc, Domine, copiose is even more specific.

Another objection had to do with removal of the intent to ordain in the Catholic intent. Staley notes this is incorrect and that the offending removed passage was only added to the Roman ordinal in the 11th century. He notes the Anglican church actually reverted to an earlier form used in the primitive Roman Church (Sacramentary of Leo the Great).

No, he says it was to an earlier type of service. If he were saying otherwise, he would be sadly mistaken because the prayer of the Roman (and also the Sarum) Pontifical Deus, honorum auctor is the same as used in the Leonine Sacramentary. For a earlier service, the Anglican Ordinal contains many late mediaevel elements not found in early ordinals.

Now his contention is that there is no need to mention the sacrificing bit. That is true- even Pope Leo XIII admitted it. He said the form had to “definitely express the sacred Order of Priesthood …….OR its grace and power” (AC no. 25). But the Leonine Sacramentary ordinations would have taken place at a Eucharist- at which the Roman Canon would have been used- and this itself would have provided the ex adiunctis factor. By contrast can it be said that the 1662 BCP is unambiguous in saying anywhere that the priest is offering the Body and Blood?

But nevertheless, according to AC 25 the word ‘priest’ is acceptable in the form- even Leo XIII referred to it when he said “even if this addition could give to the form its due signification”. Here I quote the Archbishops of E&W on why there still may linger doubt (they are speaking on a different prayer).

The terms ‘priest,’ ‘bishop,’ it may be said, are now declared to be the accepted terms to denote those who have received in substance or in plenitude the sacrificial power. Why, then, have they been rejected in an earlier part of this Letter as not bearing that meaning when they occur in your prayer, Almighty God, Giver of all good things ? The objection is specious, but it forgets that words take their meanings from the communities in which they are used.

Now in the Catholic Church the terms ’ priest ’ and ’bishop’ have always had a sacrificial meaning ; and hence when used in our ‘essential forms’ they definitely convey the required sacrificial meaning. The same is true of the Oriental Communions which use these various ancient ordination forms–as may be seen, if anyone doubts the fact, by an inspection of their Liturgies for the Mass.

But with your Communion it is different. Your Reformers no doubt retained the terms ’ priest ’ and ‘bishop’ as the distinctive names of the two higher degrees of their clergy–probably because they did not dare to discard terms so long established and so familiar. But whilst retaining the terms they protested against the meanings attached to them by the Catholics, and, insisting on the etymological signification, used them, and desired that in future they should be used, to denote, not ministers empowered to offer sacrifice, but pastors set over their flocks, to teach them, to administer to them such Sacraments as they believed in, and generally to tend them spiritually. This meaning they professed to regard as that of Scripture and of the Primitive Church, which explains the language of the Preface of your Ordinal.


#15

In illustration of this mode of employing the terms we cannot do better than remind you of the wellknown passage from Hooker :

Seeing, then, that sacrifice is now no part of the Church ministry, how should the name of priesthood be thereunto rightly applied ?.. The Fathers of the Church (this is Hooker’s view)…call usually the ministry of the Gospel priesthood in regard of that which the Gospel hath proportionable to ancient sacrifices, namely, the communion of the Blessed Body and Blood of Christ, although it have properly now no sacrifice. As for the people, when they hear the nameit draweth no more their minds to any cogitation of sacrifice than the name of a senator or an alderman causeth them to think on old age.

Thus the mere employment of the terms ‘priest ’ and ’bishop ’ in one or two prayers in your rite would go for nothing, even if in other respects those prayers, or any of them, fulfilled the requirements of an essential form.

And again, I think, this comes back to the ex adiuntis. Is there anything in the Ordinal that says the priest has the power of sacrifice? Is there anything is the Communion service that unambiguously says it? In the doctrine written down is it said?

Staley says:

Thirdly, it is on no account to be supposed that, in thus hesitating to permit sacrificial terms to remain in the Ordinal, there was any intention of denying the truth of the Eucharistic sacrifice. Archbishop Cranmer, the chief framer of the English Ordinal,
writing in 1551, expressly declared that he never intended to deny that the Holy Eucharist is a sacrifice

To be sure. But what kind of sacrifice? Ironically the citation it to the book that among others has Cranmer disputing Gardiner and rejecting the Mass as propitiatory sacrifice in many paragraphs . But to return to the citation: evidently Staley had in mind this:

For it is the sacrifice of all Christian people to remember Christ’s death, to laud and thank him for it, and to publish it and shew it abroad unto other, to his honour and glory.

The whole paragraph reads:

And with like sincerity he untruly belieth the said council, saying that it doth smith belieth plainly set forth the holy sacrifice of the mass, which doth not so much as once name the mass, but speaketh of the sacrifice of the church, which the said council declareth to be the profession of Christian people in setting forth the benefit of Christ, who only made the true sacrifice propitiatory for remission of sin. And whosoever else taketh upon him to make any such sacrifice, maketh himself antichrist.

And then he belieth me in two things, as he useth commonly throughout his Smith belieth whole book. The one is, that I deny the sacrifice of the mass, which in my book one place. have most plainly set out the sacrifice of Christian people in the holy communion or mass, (if Doctor Smith will needs so term it; ) and yet I have denied that it is a sacrifice propitiatory for sin, or that the priest alone maketh any sacrifice there. For it is the sacrifice of all Christian people to remember Christ’s death, to laud and thank him for it, and to publish it and shew it abroad unto other, to his honour and glory.

The controversy is not, whether in the holy communion be made a sacrifice or not, (for herein both Doctor Smith and I agree with the foresaid council at Ephesus; ) but whether it be a propitiatory sacrifice or not, and whether only the priest make the said sacrifice, these be the points wherein we vary. And I say so far as the council saith, that there is a sacrifice; but that the same is propitiatory for remission of sin, or that the priest alone doth offer it, neither I nor the council do so say, but Doctor Smith hath added that of his own vain head.


#16

I just want to clarify the Catholic position. The form for Holy Orders consists in the words univocally signifying the grace and power of the Order conferred, and which are accepted and used as such by the Church. --Pius XII, Sacramentum Ordinis, 1947.

In the Roman Rite, at least, this means that the essential words are in the Ordination preface. I don’t know that the essential form has been defined more precisely in the other rites.


#17

If the Anglican Orders which Pope Leo XIII referred to are ever valid, then his Bull was not an infallible pronouncement. But, that aside, if his purpose was simply to make the Anglicans feel aggrieved, why did he take so much trouble to say that he had invoked so much expert assistance in examining the matter? He was trying to console those who had received Anglican Orders, that they had only to reconcile themselves to the Church Doctrine to be in the fold, if such were possible.

The problem for our Anglican friends is the stumbling block of Peter, and the claims which the Catholic Church makes for him of Infallibilty in certain well-defined circumstances/.


#18
  1. Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the pontiffs, our predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by our authority, of our own initiative and certain knowledge, we pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void.

So said Pope Leo XIII.

For Catholics, that about settles the issue.


#19

I’ll bite


#20

This is turning into an interesting thread. But, Heaven help me, I don’t have time to do it any credit at all. Maybe later. Still, the expert assistance invoked by Leo is a subject of some possible discussion, as is the amount of time the eight commissioners spent in adressing the issue of intent, in their eight working meeting (roughly 24-28 hours total). For now, I can only again mention the books by Fr. Hughes, ABSOLUTELY NULL AND UTTERLY VOID and STEWARDS OF THE LORD.

I may return.

GKC


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