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