The Reformation and Apostolic Succession


#1

To what extent does the rebellion and breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church that characterised the Magisterial Reformation invalidate any claims that episcopal churches arising from that branch of the Reformation have to continuity with what went before them? For example, is the fact that Cranmer was ordained/ consecrated by Catholic bishops negated by his subsequent rebellion against the (Roman) Catholic Church, thus cutting off valid Apostolic Succession for his successors in the Anglican episcopacy? And what implications does that have for the “correct administration of the Sacraments” within the episcopal Magisterial Reformation churches?

Yours in Christ

Matt


#2

Cranmer retained his “apostolicity” because it is indelible. The clinker is that everything about Orders and Sacraments was so distorted by the English Reformation that the necessary form and intent to consecrate bishops and confect Sacraments as the Catholic Church understands them invalidated subsequent Anglican Orders altogether.

With the Tractarian movement in the 19th Century, and particularly since the publication of Apostolicae Curae in 1896, which declared Anglican Orders “absolutely null and utterly void,” many Anglicans have recovered a more catholic view of Orders and the Church and have “beefed up” their episcopal consecrations by using co-consecrators from unquestionably valid (although illicit) lines, such as Utrecht and the Polish National Catholic Church. When Graham Leonard, the former Anglican Bishop of London was ordained as a Catholic Priest, the ordination was conditional. That is, there were sufficient grounds to accept the possibility that Leonard’s Anglican Orders may have been valid that of conditional, rather than de novo ordination was exercised in order to avoid the sacrilege of re-ordination.


#3

[quote=mercygate]Cranmer retained his “apostolicity” because it is indelible. The clinker is that everything about Orders and Sacraments was so distorted by the English Reformation that the necessary form and intent to consecrate bishops and confect Sacraments as the Catholic Church understands them invalidated subsequent Anglican Orders altogether.

With the Tractarian movement in the 19th Century, and particularly since the publication of Apostolicae Curae in 1896, which declared Anglican Orders “absolutely null and utterly void,” many Anglicans have recovered a more catholic view of Orders and the Church and have “beefed up” their episcopal consecrations by using co-consecrators from unquestionably valid (although illicit) lines, such as Utrecht and the Polish National Catholic Church. When Graham Leonard, the former Anglican Bishop of London was ordained as a Catholic Priest, the ordination was conditional. That is, there were sufficient grounds to accept the possibility that Leonard’s Anglican Orders may have been valid that of conditional, rather than de novo ordination was exercised in order to avoid the sacrilege of re-ordination.
[/quote]

Historically (AFAIK), the first post- Apostolic Curare subconditione
ordination of an Anglican priest was that of Fr. John J. Hughes, author of (as I often say) the 2 best books on the sad subject of AC.

Most contemporary discussion of the problems with the Ewardine Ordinal tends to focus on “intent” (as in Fr. Clark’s book on Anglican orders and defect of intention) since it is relatively simple to find ordination/consecration rites that Rome recognizes as valid, that possess essentially the same form as the Ordinal.

GKC

traditional Anglican


#4

[quote=Matt Black]To what extent does the rebellion and breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church that characterised the . . . .Reformation invalidate any claims that episcopal churches arising from that branch of the Reformation have to continuity with what went before them? For example, is the fact that Cranmer was ordained/ consecrated by Catholic bishops negated by his subsequent rebellion against the (Roman) Catholic Church, thus cutting off valid Apostolic Succession for his successors in the Anglican episcopacy? And what implications does that have for the “correct administration of the Sacraments” within the episcopal Magisterial Reformation churches?

[/quote]

Since all validly ordained bishops were either murdered or become apostates, renouncing their vows to be faithful the Christ and His Church as a condition for remaining alive, there was no one left to validly ordain any more new priests or bishops. Therefore the valid Apostolic Succession was terminated when Henry had the last faithful Bishop killed.

May the peace of Christ be with you always.


#5

[quote=Ignatius]Since all validly ordained bishops were either murdered or become apostates, renouncing their vows to be faithful the Christ and His Church as a condition for remaining alive, there was no one left to validly ordain any more new priests or bishops. Therefore the valid Apostolic Succession was terminated when Henry had the last faithful Bishop killed.

May the peace of Christ be with you always.
[/quote]

This is not, in fact, the judgement of Apostolicae Curae. The break point is considered to be the consecration of Archbishop Parker, with the Edwardine Ordinal.

GKC

Anglicanus Catholicus


#6

[quote=GKC]This is not, in fact, the judgement of Apostolicae Curae. The break point is considered to be the consecration of Archbishop Parker, with the Edwardine Ordinal.

GKC

Anglicanus Catholicus
[/quote]

Yes, but even if they used the right form, it’s not valid. Anyone can read the right words and perform the right actions. If they do not have the Authority to perform the consecration, even if they were to use the right form, then it’s still not valid.


#7

[quote=Ignatius]Since all validly ordained bishops were either murdered or become apostates, renouncing their vows to be faithful the Christ and His Church as a condition for remaining alive, there was no one left to validly ordain any more new priests or bishops. Therefore the valid Apostolic Succession was terminated when Henry had the last faithful Bishop killed.
[/quote]

It’s unfortunatley not quite that simple. First off, ordination is indelible, even if you apostize. If you were a bishop, you can still validly (but illicitly) ordain others so long as you have the necessary intent and follow the appropriate forms.

Where the Church of England is concerned, Apostolic Succession ended under Elizabeth and not Henry. The episcopate under Mary had been fully valid, licit and orthodox, but took the principled stance of resigning virtually en masse when Elizabeth reimposed royal supremacy. A new Anglican episcopate led by AB Parker was then ordained according to the deficient Edwardian Ordinal that was to remain in force until 1662 at which point it was substantially (and possibly sufficiently) improved. But as the Church of England had not validly ordained its clergy in the intervening century, by 1662 it had lost Apostolic Succession.

If the 1662 Ordinal was sufficiently improved (I don’t believe the Church has ever pronounced a definitive judgement on the issue), and if all current Anglican clergy can trace their ordination through schismatic bishops from other denominations that have themselves preserved Apostolic Succession, then Anglican Orders might now be valid. But those are big ifs.

Irenicist


#8

[quote=Ignatius]Yes, but even if they used the right form, it’s not valid. Anyone can read the right words and perform the right actions. If they do not have the Authority to perform the consecration, even if they were to use the right form, then it’s still not valid.
[/quote]

Here again, I’ll point out that this was not the judgement of Apostolicae Curae, which dealt with form and intent, not authority. Had the form as found in the Ordinal not differed from that in the then current Roman Pontifical (and it is interesting to compare the current Roman rite, with that in the Pontifical) that issue would ever have arisen. And it was the new form that caused the assumption of the deficiency of intent.

GKC

Anglicanus Catholicus


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