The Church of England - - Letters -

Sir, In an­swer to Fa­ther Michael Galloway’s query as to whether I might join the Or­di­nar­i­ate (Letters, 9 May): Rome’s “Angli­can-Lite” Or­di­nar­i­ate wishes for echoes of Cran­mer while re­ject­ing his Re­formed the­ol­ogy and liturgy. It re­jects the car­di­nal “ti­tle page” claim of the Prayer Book to be “the sacra­ments and other rites and cer­e­monies,” not of the Church of Eng­land, but “of the [whole uni­ver­sal] CHURCH ac­cord­ing to the use of the Church of Eng­land.” That is the true Angli­can Pat­ri­mony that the Or­di­nar­i­ate, like much of the Church of Eng­land, gives up for an un­re­formed ec­u­meni­cal Rome­ward liturgy and the­ol­ogy.

When it comes to the Eucharist, Rome’s litur­gi­cal norm is to deny the cup to the laity con­trary to Christ’s ex­press com­mand. Fur­ther, as Ar­ti­cle 19 of our Thirty-nine Ar­ti­cles men­tions, “the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their liv­ing and man­ner of Cer­e­monies, but also in mat­ters of Faith”. Rome re­tains the er­ror of tran­sub­stan­ti­a­tion as best ex­plain­ing its po­si­tion while deny­ing this word any meta­phys­i­cal ex­pla­na­tion. Rome continues to anath­e­ma­tize those of us who main­tain that sal­va­tion is uniquely founded on jus­ti­fi­ca­tion or for­give­ness through a God-given faith. Rome re­tains its usurped uni­ver­sal ju­ris­dic­tion un­known to Paul or the early Church. Since the Ref­or­ma­tion, Rome has added the dogma of Pa­pal in­fal­li­bil­ity and its two ques­tion­able Mar­ian dog­mas.

Fur­ther, I have se­ri­ous con­cerns over the moral ex­am­ple of the Or­di­nar­i­ate and its sup­port­ers in ac­cept­ing the funds of Angli­can char­i­ties be­ing redi­rected to their dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent Ro­man faith and prac­tice, es­pe­cially when some of the trustees giv­ing such funds were them­selves in the process of leav­ing to join the Or­di­nar­i­ate.

There are equal prob­lems over the moral lead­er­ship of the Pa­pal hi­er­ar­chy, their ca­su­istry of an­nul­ment in place of di­vorce, their turn­ing a blind eye to for- nicat­ing priests from the present day back to ex­am­ples such as the no­to­ri­ous evil liv­ing Pope Alexan­der VI. This sets at naught Paul’s in­junc­tion (I Cor. 5:11) to deny such “Chris­tian” for­ni­ca­tors ta­ble fel­low­ship let alone al­low­ing them to con­tinue in min­is­te­rial lead­er­ship and author­ity.

So while I have prob­lems over the moral lead­er­ship of the Church of Eng­land with its in­ac­tion and share of hereti­cal and for­ni­cat­ing priests, bad as the fry­ing pan may be, jump­ing from it into the fire ap­pears far worse.

Churches are of­ten bet­ter than their lead­ers, there is of­ten a be­liev­ing pray­ing rem­nant, even when, as for ex­am­ple, at the time of the Arian heresy, vir­tu­ally all bish­ops and many priests had em­braced heresy. As a way of Sal­va­tion, safer by far is the Protes­tant rule of Scrip­ture alone, es­pe­cially when this is re­stricted to be­ing taken ac­cord­ing to the col­lec­tive mind of the early Church, as loyal Angli­cans pre­fer and the Vin­cen­tian Canon re­quires. Alan Bart­ley Green­ford, Mid­dle­sex

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