Which is the True Catholic Church


#1

A while back I did a thread on choosing between a poor-in-every-regard but Catholic church with rotten priest and a charismatic thriving megachurch, in which the Catholics demonstrated that they would always choose the Catholic Church. Point taken. But here I wish to slice it finer and see if I understand the distinction. This is not a slam against the Catholic church but an effort to draw out an important distinction.

Church A is Catholic. The priest however, is not particularly so, though a validly ordained priest. He has denied the resurrection, the Virgin Birth, transubstantiation, and just about anything else you can think of. Someone wanted a class on the Catechism and his response was that “nobody believes that stuff” anymore. He is casual with the Eucharistic elements and has been known to address them with a “bread thou art, and bread thou wilt remain.” He has mocked the pope and the bishop in homilies and regards faith as a crutch. He holds no hours for confession because “it’s not necessary. If you need help. see a shrink.” His morals outside of church are deplorable. Outraged members sent a videotape of him first to the bishop and then to Rome. Rome says they will send someone “to look into these matters in which we share mutual concerns.”

Church B is Anglican. The priest is extremely reverent and is working in his movement (having left the Episcopal Church) to bring them into the Catholic Church. He holds classes on the Catechism. There is a Marian prayer group. He has a high regard for the pope and has read everything he has written, and quotes find their way into sermons. He is compassionate, walks on water for a hobby, encourages Adoration etc. He, in other words, out-Catholics the Catholic priest. He upholds Catholic doctrine in every way and is torn by the fact he is “not yet” Catholic as an internal tension, yet feels called by God to do what he is doing.

Catholics will tell me, I think, that Church A is the true Catholic church. Why is organizational unity with Rome the telling factor, rather than faith (this goes beyond Donatist arguments regarding the piety of the officiant)? Why are B’s sacraments invalid and those of A’s valid?


#2

What if the troubled priest in church A is a human being as are the people in both congregations as well as the saintly minister in church B. In time by God’s mercy his will is done. We are all capable of error and God loves us any way. What is the point of your question? It seems (forgive me) a hypothetical straw dog having little to do with any real choice any one I know has ever had to confront.:shrug:


#3

A true Catholic, I think, would tell you to steer clear of both churches if at all possible. They’re about as truly Catholic as each other. And it sounds like your Church A lacks even the required degree of unity with Rome (given the priest’s lack of even lipservice to the Pope and most of the major Church teachings.)

More importantly, the priest in Church A has views so out of whack about transubstantiation in particular that there’s little if any doubt that the Masses he offers are in fact totally invalid.

The priest’s intention (ie to ‘do as the Church does’, or transubstantiate) is critical to the sacrament of the Eucharist - no belief in transubstantion means he very likely lacks the necessary intent. I’d question him on the point to make sure before rejecting Church A outright, however.

It is actually provision of valid sacraments that, to me and (I think) most Catholics, would define a ‘true’ Catholic Church. Catechesis is something that one can and should be able to do for oneself if necessary.


#4

Because the Church comes from Christ and Christ founded his Church upon Peter. We are not free to choose how the Church is organized any more than we are free to choose the matter and form of the Sacraments.

Christ’s Church can only be found one place.

Because Holy Orders come only through valid Apostolic Succession.


#5

Load the dice a little more. The priest at Church B has unquestionably been ordained, proper form and intent, by an Anglican bishop undeniably possessing PNCC lines, through +Albert Chambers.

GKC


#6

Pope Leo XIII’s Judgement on Anglican Ordinations explains why Anglican ordinations are not valid and consequently why Anglican sacraments are not valid, except baptism and marriage.


#7

Yes, I know. That’s Apostolicae Curae. One of my hobbies.

GKC

Anglicanus Catholicus


#8

The masses at Church “A” are currently not valid - BUT, it is under the authority of a Catholic Bishop, and transfers happen every five years. In (at maximum) five years time, that priest will be gone (and probably not reassigned - he will most likely become unemployed - unless he makes a strategic move to the Anglican church - perhaps he and the Anglican rector will make a pulpit exchange, if the Anglican sees his way to become a Catholic, and follows whatever the procedure is to become ordained in the Catholic Church under the pastoral provision for former Anglican and Lutheran priests).

The Anglican priest is not currently in communion with the Church, his place of worship will never be under the authority of a Catholic Bishop, and his consecrations as an Anglican priest will never be valid.

Of course, if this were a real situation, a thinking Catholic would be required to go to the next Catholic parish over, and not participate in either of those two parishes.


#9

Yes…but as has been noted on other threads it was written in the 1800’s to address a situation current in Leo’s time in relation to issues of the Edwardian Ordinal and succession progressing from that in terms of intent (and then defect after the ordinal was fixed).

What throws a monkey wrench in the whole thing occurred after Leo’s death. The Anglican Communion entered into communion in the 20th century (1930’s??) with the Old Catholic Church (Utrecht Union) which eventually included the Polish National Catholic Church (who later left the union over the liberalization in the Episc Church and Old Catholic Church). After the intercommunion, Old Catholic Bishops began particpating in consecrations of Anglican Bishops AND therefore transferred legitimate Old Catholic succession to those Bishops and therefore those they ordained and whose consecrations they particpated in. As I recall the AB of Canterbury currently has Old Catholic orders.

In addition, as GKC mentions there are “Continuing Anglican” groups who trace their apostolic succession back to Anglican Bishop A. Chambers. Bishop Chambers has succession from the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC). He therefore transmiitted valid succession (from the Catholic point of view) to those Bishops he consecrated and clergy ordained by those Bishops have valid orders.

The Old Catholic Church (Union of Utrecht) and the Polish National Catholic Church have valid orders that the Roman Catholic Church recognizes as such (PNCC can even receive communion in RCC churches as per Canon law). Unlike what another poster noted you DO NOT have to be in communion with Rome to have valid orders (according to Rome). They are valid but illicit.

Those orders were transferred to some Continuing Anglican groups and some Anglican Communion Bishops and clergy. In fact, the PIC (Philippine Independent Catholic Church) not only ended up with Episcopal succession but also valid succession when the PNCC consecrated their Bishops (PICC were members of Utrecht for a while). Meaning that there are entire “Continuing Anglican” groups who are very orthodox and have what the RCC would consider valid orders. There are also a fair number of Anglican Communion Bishops and clergy with the same.

GKC’s point in the above scenario means that although it is unlikely they would ever have to receive sacraments from a non Catholic priest, it might be possible. It might also because of Canon law be valid to receive say Penance because the Anglican priest had valid orders. DO NOT confuse that aspect of canon law with advocating it being permissible to attend the Anglican service regularly anymore than to attend Catholic Traditionalist schismatic groups. It was just designed for unusual circumstances (eg danger of death).


#10

Anglican/Old Catholic inter-communion: 1932.

ECUSA/PNCC intercommunion: 1946.

As a point of history, a PIC bishop was supposed to co-consecrate the 4 Continuing Anglican bishops in 1978, but was too ill to attend. He sent a letter of concurrence and blessings, which was nice.

My point, as always, is to try to add some historical perspective. I have no intention of trying to argue a RC out of affirming what the RCC says *Apostolicae Curae *means, today. I don’t try to make a RC think like an Anglican; just show how an Anglican thinks.

Though sometimes I suggest readings.

GKC


#11

Or, to put it another way…

Maybe I’m wrong about the PIC bishop. Memory is not what it used to be, if I recall correctly.

GKC


#12

In my town, the Anglican minister told me that he could see himself becoming Catholic. And from the short time I knew him, he seemed to be a very godly man.

Very much like Church B in the OP.

He got moved to another parish, so I don’t know his situation now though.


#13

He would not be the first one to move on to the RCC. There have been a few Episcopal Bishops do so as the turmoil in the Episcopal Church ramps up (not to mention Episc Priest becoming RCC Priests).


#14

A perfect example would be the Eastern Orthodox with valid orders.

Which gives them a valid Eucharist. They use a different type of host than what Roman rites prescribe, but as far as the Sacrament itself, Christ is there.

Which would be impossible without valid Holy Orders.


#15

And at least two former Anglican clergy (a priest and a bishop) were ordained sub conditione, not absolutely, when they made the move (neither under the Pastoral Provision).

It is a complicated matter, sometimes.

GKC


#16

To get back to the original question as to which Church to attend. I would say neither; it’s time to travel to the next closest Catholic Church, assuming that’s physically and financially possible.

If it’s not possible, I would attend Church A, the Catholic Church. To attend the Anglican Church would imply union with them and acceptance of their teachings. For me, that would be a lie. I may not like the Catholic priest and his actions, but I am in union with, and accept the teachings of, the Catholic Church. Even if there were question of the validity of the Eucharist, I would gain nothing by going to the Anglican Church since the Eucharist there is not valid.

IF the priest openly stated that he did not intend what the Church intends (in consecrating the Eucharist), and IF it were impossible for me to attend a different Catholic Church, I still would not attend the Anglican Church (it would still be a lie); I would stay home and pray - or if I went to the Church (Catholic), I would just participate in the prayer but not go to Communion.

Nita


#17

A couple of things:

i) You are correct that as a practical matter there are many RC Churches to choose from and it likely would be unnecessary to go to a non RC Church.

ii) You may be incorrect that the Anglican Eucharist would in invalid. As noted above in the other posts. If it were a continuing Anglican parish with valid orders the Eucharist would be valid. That is RC Canon law. The Polish National Catholic Church Eucharist is valid (according to RC Canon law). These are valid but illicit.

iii) Should a Roman Catholic attend valid Eucharists at non RC Churches (except those in communion with Rome). No. The provisions of Canon law for Catholics receiving sacraments in non RC Churches with valid orders is meant for emergency situations (eg danger of death, war, etc). It defintely is not meant to allow Catholics to choose to go to a Polish National Catholic Church, Continuing Anglican Church, or Orthodox Church. Your Bishop would chew you out for doing so :smiley:

iv) As a side note, just because the Priest is a bit strange does not invalidate the Eucharist. That is Catholic theology and is protection in that your receipt is not dependent on them being too far to the left.


#18

In regards to whether Anglican orders for a specific priest are valid or not, there is no way for a parishioner to know.

iv) As a side note, just because the Priest is a bit strange does not invalidate the Eucharist. That is Catholic theology and is protection in that your receipt is not dependent on them being too far to the left.

That is why I said if the priest openly states he does not intend what the Church intends. That does invalidate the Eucharist.

Nita


#19

Yes, but what are the chances of that? And how would an ordinary lay Catholic distinguish (since it would be impossible to believe it on their say-so - even Anglican parishes with female priests sincerely believe their Eucharist (and their priesthood) to be valid) - and the question of which Bishop ordained whom is extremely complicated.

It’s entirely moot, anyway, since Catholics are not even permitted to partake of valid Eucharists outside of union with Rome except under the most unusual of circumstances - we don’t receive Holy Communion from the Polish National Church, nor from the Orthodox who are not in union with our Pope, and nor do we attend their liturgies, unless there is absolutely no other alternative (which is seldom the case) so although it’s a fascinating academic exercise, ultimately, even if it were valid, the Catholic would still be required to attend the Catholic Church.

iv) As a side note, just because the Priest is a bit strange does not invalidate the Eucharist. That is Catholic theology and is protection in that your receipt is not dependent on them being too far to the left.

Absolutely.


#20

Stop by my parish. Chances there are 100% valid, though illicit.

(n.b.: Don’t listen to females in sacerdotal garments).

It’s entirely moot, anyway, since Catholics are not even permitted to partake of valid Eucharists outside of union with Rome except under the most unusual of circumstances - we don’t receive Holy Communion from the Polish National Church, nor from the Orthodox who are not in union with our Pope, and nor do we attend their liturgies, unless there is absolutely no other alternative (which is seldom the case) so although it’s a fascinating academic exercise, ultimately, even if it were valid, the Catholic would still be required to attend the Catholic Church.

Absolutely.

No Donatism.

GKC


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