185 Years of Anglo-Catholicism

Many Anglican Catholics are probably already aware that this past July 14th marked the traditional commencement of the Ango-Catholic Movement within the Anglican Church with a sermon by John Keble at the University Church of St Mary’s in Oxford. I’ve pulled this quote from Ritual Notes via The Anglophilic Anglican concerning the event:

“Most Anglo-Catholics know that 185 years ago today, John Keble ascended the pulpit at the University Church of St Mary’s in Oxford to deliver the sermon at the opening of the Assize Court. If the date is not remembered, the result certainly is. John Henry Newman wrote that this sermon, easily forgotten during any other time, was the beginning of the Oxford Movement.”

I am personally a recent convert to Anglo-Catholicism from the Roman Catholic Church. I was raised Roman Catholic and attended a conservative Roman Catholic school from junior kindergarten to grade 12. The fact that I am not entirely comfortable using the word ‘convert’ when I speak of my recent membership in the Anglican Church and specifically the Catholic wing of said church, is proof of the complexities that dominate the catholic debate within the Anglican Church and indeed among many protestant flavours of Christianity.

Because I was raised Roman Catholic I spent the vast majority of my life under the impression that the Bishop of Rome and the entire Roman Church had a monopoly on the word ‘catholic.’ I’ve always believed (as per the Creeds) that the catholic church is the one, true, holy and apostolic church founded by Christ. I just, like many Roman Catholics, equated ‘catholic’ with Roman and the Pope and all that came along with that system. I was first introduced to the idea of universal catholicity (specifically the Branch Theory), or the core of the Oxford Movement– which is quiet simply that the Roman Church does not hold court over what is catholic and what is not– a few years ago after a Roman Catholic commentator who I had great respect for left the Roman Church after having an epiphany over social issues within the church. His leaving the Roman Church and taking up worship in the Anglican Catholic church piqued my interest and I began to research. I learned that what made a church catholic was not adhering to the will of Rome or speaking in Latin but rather it was a staunch devotion to the Creeds, to orthodoxy (meaning placing emphasis on the original forms of worship of the Church) and to an understanding of a truly universal church founded by Christ. I always knew that I was a catholic, if not because I do not feel like I am worshiping God in a manner that is pleasing in His sight unless there are bells and smell (as those who criticize the richness of catholic liturgy like to say). I knew I was a catholic because I believed firmly in the Creeds– never, even in the darkest and loneliest moments in my faith have I doubted the articles of the Creeds. And I knew I was catholic because I had a deep conviction that Christ did not found a fragmented and broken form of Christianity with sects fighting between each other each holding a nugget of truth, I firmly believe that the catholic church is the one Christian church founded by Christ.

But here is the kicker: catholicism can never be confined to one single sect. Catholicism is universal, it is applicable to all people, all races, all tongues because it is the Body of Christ here and present on earth. And because we are all creations of God, no matter where we come from or what we do in this life, we can all be part of and served by this catholic church.

I am an Anglican Catholic today because I do not believe that catholic is the same as being Roman. I believe that the Roman church places too much emphasis on culturally important aspects of the faith (like not eating one hour before Mass) to the point that what is dogma and a core belief and what is a cultural or best practice is often just lumped in as essential all around. I also believe that the doctrine of the Supremacy of the Pope is flawed and uncatholic– there is nothing universal about linking the movement and spirit of the universal church to one arbitrary geographical location here on earth. I also take issue with doctrine that has come out of the direct authority of the Pope such as Papal Infallibility and the Immaculate Conception– I do not see these as core catholic concepts, but they are certainly Roman.

“The Catholic Revival in the Church of England had nothing to do with gin, lace, and backbiting, as is often caricatured. Yes, elaborate ritual and church building followed in the next generation, but this was a logical development of the belief that the Church is not the same as the Post Office. [Or, as I sometimes put it in defending the use of traditional language in worship, “The liturgy – the worship of God – is not Uncle Joe’s barbecue.”] The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our lives and not the same as chicken tetrazzini at the weekly Rotary Club. The development of ritual and devotion was the servant, the handmaid, to the truths Keble turned our minds to 185 years ago.”

I have never felt more catholic, more Christian than when worshiping and sharing fellowship in an Anglican Catholic church.

God be praised!

15 thoughts on “185 Years of Anglo-Catholicism

  1. Very interesting! As a convert to Roman Catholicism from Evangelicalism who seriously considered Anglicanism while on the road to Rome I consider your position to be fascinating.

    Just out of curiosity, have you read any Robert Hugh Benson, particularly “Confessions of a Convert” or G.K. Chesterton, particularly “The Catholic Church and Conversion”?

    God bless!

    -Ben

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    • Thank you very much for your comment. And welcome to the catholic church (specifically the Roman flavour)! When I stumbled across the idea of the branch theory which opened my eyes to the true concept of universal catholicity, I was in awe. Like that moment C.S. Lewis talked about in Mere Christianity about when you realize how all of true Christian teaching hangs together so delicately and yet so naturally. I have not read any Robert Hugh Benson but I am currently building my summer vacation reading list, I am going to take your question as a strong recommendation and add it to the list. 😉 I am very familiar with Chesterton via C.S. Lewis and Tolkin. I had an interesting conversation at the start of my conversion to Anglo-Catholicism with a good (and very smart) Priest friend of mine. We mused over dinner whether or not Chesterton would supported the concept of the branch theory and this idea of catholicism not being solely within the Roman Catholic Church– I do not think it was flushed out enough when he was writing to really have a legit opinion from him on the matter and I also think he was writing at a different time with relations between catholic and protestant wings (we were still horrendously ripping beautiful things out of very old churches during this period) and Chesterton’s one fault is that he relished in being a man writing very much within the confines of his own time.

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      • E.J.,

        I’m glad that you might get a chance to read Robert Hugh Benson’s “Confessions of a Convert”. He was not only an Anglican, but the son of the Archbishop of Canterbury! His account of his consideration of the case for Rome is powerful indeed, as you can imagine his thoughtfulness in weighing his options.

        I spent some time learning about the Branch Theory and I have a couple of questions…

        1. How is it viable if it remains largely unaccepted by all 3 major branches? (Namely RC,EO, Anglican)

        2. How are the authority claims of Rome, referring back at least as far as St. Irenaeus’ reference to Rome’s “pre-eminence” dealt with? How can there be union among branches with a rejection of primary claims?

        Also, I think it’s noteworthy that the branch theory far pre-dates Chesterton’s conversion, and I’m quite sure he was aware of it, so his rejection of it should be considered as timeless as long as the branch theory remains a consideration, right? And lastly, I’m sure you’re aware that one of the most popular proponents of the “via media”, John Henry Newman, himself ended up rejecting the idea and becoming Roman Catholic.

        My hope here is to have fruitful dialog, not instigate. I’m very happy to have found someone who is giving this subject as much careful thought as I have.

        God bless you brother!

        -Ben

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      • Thank you very much for the comment. And I look forward to reading Benson! Now to your questions,

        1. If you read through the various statements from the RC, EO and Anglican church and specifically the statement made in 1983 by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia concerning the matter, you can clearly see the silliness of the current state of catholicism within the Christian world. We have three major churches all falling over on another claiming heretical teachings by the other and in the case of OCOR, actually calling anathema to any person who advocates for the branch theory. Their claim is that the various churches possess articles of faith that are profoundly different…really? Adhering to the Creeds, the first seven ecumenical councils and emphasizing the universality of liturgy (through the use of common prayer books, etc) is possessing profoundly different articles of faith? The branch theory seeks to change how we approach the idea of catholicism and a universal church within the Christian world specifically how it impacts the RC, Anglican and Orthodox churches (because they could reasonably all make a claim of being holy, catholic and apostolic but none can reasonably make the claim of being one, not while the other two make the same claims). The branch theory seeks to unify the marks of the church to true become one within the Christian world. I do not put much water in the RC, Orthodox and Anglican churches rejecting the branch theory, there is a giant log within their eye when it comes to see the truly universal and truly catholic unifying force within each three major branch, and the basis of their argument (claiming profound difference in articles in faith, which are really profoundly different cultural approaches to the same catholic faith) is proof of this hindrance to see the logic. I also find that the RC assess the validity of a catholic Anglican church by taking the most protestant parts of Anglicanism and saying it is not catholic. There needs to be an understanding that the branch theory requires a change in not just the existing catholic church but also requires a change within the protestant churches. We couldn’t possibly be in communion as catholics for example but have wings of our church that still calls the Roman church the “Babylonian whore” for example. And I think it is dishonest for the RC and Orthodox church to use those radical protestant instances to write off the possibility of a catholic thread common between all three.

        2. The history of the Roman Catholic church is littered with periods of history when emphasis was placed on this theological aspect or that. Because of this, the Roman Church too often I feel falls into a state of error whereby they mix what is essential to the faith with what serves to enhance the faith. When I was a kid my grandmother would scold us very harshly if we ate one hour before Mass, it was the same scolding we would get for using the Lord’s name in vain. The problem with this approach is that one is actually a sin and should be scolded and the other is just a cultural practice that while enhances the faith, is not essential to it. The Roman Church does in fact that very paternal “do I as I say” instinct that sometimes causes them to add weight to practices that do not need them. Another good example is how many people lost their minds within the RC when the Priest started speaking English during Mass. As if speaking Latin was a precept of the catholic faith (it is not). Or claiming that having male only unmarried Priests is someone a cardinal condition of the catholic faith, if that was the case how does the Roman church explain the centuries of its existence when Priests were married? So when it comes to primary claims within the Roman Church and them using those claims to impose their will on other catholic faiths, I have to take it mostly with a grain of salt. People also forget that the actual codification of the Supremacy of the Pope did not happen until recently. There was also was a division within the Roman Church regarding the unilateral authority of the Bishop of Rome, especially when it came to working with other bishops within the church. It took a unilateral action by the Pope to get the doctrine established on paper because Bishops and theologians within the Roman Church were hopelessly divided on the subject. This idea of an unquestioned supreme pontiff in the context of the total history of the church is actually a drop in the bucket of time.

        The Branch Theory does pre-date Chesterton but the building up of the concept via the Oxford Movement and coupled with the ecumenical movements within the Christian church that started in the 1960s, I do not think that Chesterton in his time was able to fully assess the theory. John Henry Newman is an enigma for me and most Anglo-Catholics. Deep down every Anglo-Catholic, heck every catholic, wants unity over division within the catholic church. I think Newman was willing to put certain things below that desire and joined the RC. I’ve always wondered what Newman would have done today, especially given that he might not have been so closet about his homosexual relationship, I do not even think the RC would have accepted him as a Cardinal today.

        And lastly, the hope is always to have dialog. We are here to talk and think things through with an open mind and an open heard.

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  2. EJ,

    I can appreciate where you’re coming from with your reasons. In some ways it comes down to what matters the most for each of us. Personally, an overriding priority in my conversion became the question of authority. Who has it? One thing that I figured out early-on in the process was that I lack the authority to declare for myself what is or isn’t important, at least as long as I cared to pursue truth over preference, you know?

    Does the Roman Catholic Church possess doctrinal/spiritual authority from God? If so, then there have been 21 ecumenical councils, and I can’t say there were just 7. If the authority is there, then there must be a reason for fasting an hour prior to communion that I may not understand. If I forget, that’s one thing, but if I reject it with a spirit of rebellion then I’ve either got a spiritual problem to work through or a need to know for sure that the RC Church is wrong to try to claim authority in things like that. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” If His commandments come to us through the RC Church then I obey them because I love Jesus. Otherwise, what nerve does the RC Church have to be claiming doctrinal authority?

    Are you familiar with Lewis’s “Lord, liar, or lunatic” argument for Christ? Because of the bold claims that Christ made, we cannot simply regard Him as a good man. The Roman Catholic Church is similar. Because of it’s bold claims, we cannot simply regard it as another branch. The lukewarm option is not available to us. The RC Church is either the one Church established by Christ himself on Peter (Matt 16:18-19) and possesses authority from God, or it’s a diabolical lie, or it’s crazy. No other church even tries to be as bold. Rome can’t be just another branch.

    My point here is to draw attention to the general question of authority. The differences between dogmas, doctrines, and disciplines and what’s changeable or not is a difference “branch” of the topic, if you will 😉 If Rome has authority, then the evidence should point to it. If someone else has it then the evidence should point to them. Someone needs to have authority, for instance to determine what councils are legitimate or not, which books are to be included in the canon of Scripture or not, etc.

    By the way, do you happen to have a source handy for validating if Newman was in a homosexual relationship? I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard that before.

    One final thought for now. What is the one way that the Church can be “one” as Christ prayed in John 17? I realized during my conversion that the only way to achieve true and actual unity is through all believers uniting with “Peter” again. Apart from the practical reality of communion with Rome (which basically lasted 1,000 years until the EO split) unity is vague to the point of wishful thinking. I hope I haven’t been too bold here, but I believe these are crucial points to ponder.

    Again, God bless.

    -Ben

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    • What an awesome comment! Thank you very much for the insightful questions and for providing your own well-informed opinion. The only problem that I think exists here is that you are literally preaching to the choir here. I am catholic just the same as you are catholic (even though you might not say so), and I believe in the same source of authority for the one, true, holy, apostolic church. The source of authority for the catholic church is her apostolic nature, as well as her true nature in that she is incapable of of falsehood. This authority is clearly formulated and exercised in the Acts of the Apostles, by the very men who were present for the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This authority exists within the catholic church today because of apostolic succession, which is an imperative aspect of the catholic faith. I think we agree on all of this– we are catholic after all. From this perspective your madness example is not required. I agree that the church is either right or insane to claim to be the Bridegroom of Christ present here on earth. I know she is right. I also know she is not Roman.

      You asked, does the Roman Catholic church possess doctrinal authority? The Roman church is apostolic without question. So they certainly posses doctrinal authority. But they are currently, I propose, in separation from the catholic church. She will remain in separation so long as she insists on emphasizing her Roman nature over her catholic nature manifested in the false teaching of the Supremacy of the Pope (and all dogma arising from this error). In order to understand fully where I am coming from you need to divorce ‘catholic’ and ‘Roman’ because what I am saying is that the catholic church remains true and unaltered in her form which exists across the Christian world but that truth does not currently reside in the Roman church in its entirety. It also does not exist in its entity within the Anglican church or the Orthodox church because the majority Bishops within those sects continue to advocate an uncatholic approach to their catholicity. I would not argue with saying that the Bishop of Canterbury is not any less catholic that the Bishop of Rome when it comes to how they oversee their own flock. Authority within the catholic church resides with the bishops individually. The saying is clear: where the Bishop is, there is the Church. And “the Church” (collectively) makes interpretations and exercises her divine authority collectively as Bishops. This is clear in the Acts of the Apostles in how they made decisions following the Death of Jesus. This is why authority rests at the episcopal level within the Church through apostolic succession and not the presbyter. And we see how the early Church Fathers came together in Councils wherein they made their cases to one another as Bishops in ecclesia. And just like the Apostles they ruled by democracy together and when a decision was made their authority collectively was ratified by each one returning to their church to follow the Will of the Spirit as determined by the Fathers in Council. This is why I accept the first seven ecumenical councils and hold them to establish firmly the principles of the catholic church here on earth– that was their Divine intent.

      I think that you equating not eating an hour before Mass with Jesus saying to follow His commandments is very telling for how the Roman church approaches these important but fundamentally cultural aspects of their church. It cannot possibly be sold with a straight face, for example, that Priests being chaste is some divine dogma that has existed within the church since its creation, we know for a historical fact that it was a deliberate administrative decision to prevent Priests from marrying because of issues within medieval inheritance practices. And yet the Roman church is very falsely trying to sell that very concept. For some reason, and this I do now know why, the Bishop of Rome is intent on doubling down on any perceived slight on their temporal authority. This was certainly why the power of the office was consolidated in the first place. For purely temporal, political and greedy means. This is another historical fact that the Roman church cannot reconcile with its apparent total catholicity. Also the fact that the Roman church completely divorces herself from her own (right) teaching that the Scripture must be interpreted while being attentive to the whole (CCC 112), within the living tradition of the church (CCC 113) and attentive to the analogy of faith (CCC 114). The entire authority of the Bishop of Rome rests on a single line from Christ, the implications of which are claimed by the Roman church today are literally not present anywhere else in the entire Bible. It takes a grave departure from fundamental catholic teaching and tradition on Scriptural interpretation to swallow the unilateral and infallible authority of the Pope– while speaking of matters of morals and the church or not.

      I think this is a good start from me end. I am really enjoying this discussion.

      I’ll find the documentary that I watched about Newman. This wikipedia article explains some of it but I don’t like wikipedia for these kind of things and it was a documentary that really convinced me of it most likely being the case.

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  3. EJ,

    I am glad for your appreciation of the importance of Apostolic Succession, and I agree that we are both very catholic-minded. I think we’re not very different in many ways, but the differences represent big issues. Worthy of discussion 🙂

    You are saying that the RCC has doctrinal authority but is in separation? How can a church in separation have doctrinal authority? Is it because the authority comes from elsewhere and Rome happens to agree with it? I’m not sure that would be actual doctrinal authority. Consent by popular vote among bishops seems to be what you are advocating. I can see how there might be a case to be made for that. However, in history there have been instances where the primacy of the pope overruled majority opinion. Even the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 is an example of Peter having the final say regardless of where the debate may have been going.

    Bishops do have individual authority, and they do act collectively, and the pope acts along with the college of bishops. Along with this, we know that even a baseball game needs a final referee’s decision at times. A global Church even more so. Now, this can only work with God’s grace, because humans have a tendency to screw things up, right? 🙂 So God basically keeps the pope in check when it actually matters, to prevent false teaching being dogmatically taught. I haven’t seen a single example of this failing in 2,000 years. Vatican 1 helped nail this stuff down, but the authority of the papacy can be traced at least as far back as St. Clement’s letter to the Corinthians in the first century. And I have a quote from St. Jerome talking about the authority of the pope. There are many examples.

    I think it’s important to point out that some “rules” are more important than others. If I go into confession and say that I ate within an hour of communion I don’t think the priest is going to be too concerned. He would be more interested in knowing if I was developing a spirit of rebellion which might harm my spiritual condition in bigger ways. And it’s possible for the rule that keeps priests from getting married to change. The pope and the bishops have “the power to bind and loose” in many things. But some things can’t change, like the male priesthood. Jesus set it up that way and the Church doesn’t have the authority to change something Jesus Himself established.

    Regarding CCC113, I think I see what you’re saying. Worthy of more thought on my part. But I don’t see how there must be a contradiction. The way things have developed through history can include consensus AND authoritative decisions, depending on the need or the issue.

    If I may, I’d like to put the question of authority into practical discussion terms, with this question for your consideration: How many books are in the canon of Sacred Scripture, and how do we know that the canon includes all books inspired by God?

    Blessings brother.

    -Ben

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    • You are saying that the RCC has doctrinal authority but is in separation? How can a church in separation have doctrinal authority? Is it because the authority comes from elsewhere and Rome happens to agree with it?

      The catholic church has doctrinal authority via apostolic succession. There exists a catholic element of the Roman church but not in totality because she remains in err having the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility. You ask how the church can possess authority but be wrong? There are two methods and both are persistent within the Roman church today. First, think of a parent who posses authority over a child (naturally, being the adult) but does not excise that authority properly. This is the state the Roman church finds herself in when she teaches about the unilateral authority of the Bishop of Rome. Second, I am not denying that the Roman church is not fundamentally catholic in nature, just that she has erred significantly and must correct that error in order to heal the superficial wounds on the Body of Christ here on earth today. I specifically take issue with the Bishop of Rome claiming that when he speaks of matters of faith and morals within the church, he cannot err because of his unique relationship with God via one line in the Gospel from Christ that is not manifested in that matter anywhere else in the Bible (including Acts). From that issue, I have to cascade the error into any unilateral action that has been made by the pope on matters that may not have been approved by the bishops of the church in council– but the root remains a pope who claims a divine authority to render catholic doctrine, faith and morals. This claim of authority simply has no basis in my opinion within catholicism– on the face of it, a catholic church cannot be in totality be governed by an arbitrary geographical area on earth, it is not universal.

      Now this is not to say that the bishops of the catholic church cannot organize themselves (indeed they are called to with a requirement for a Magisterium) and they could even pick one of them among themselves to be a leader of sorts. But that person is certainly not infallible. They certainly do not posses any authority expect that which comes from his own fellow bishops in council. That is a profoundly different situation than we have in the Roman church today. I have not dig deep enough, but considering how new the idea of Papal infallibility (and the fact it has for most of the history of the church been a contentious and not obvious issue) I am inclined to feel as if older reference to a catholic pope has more to do with my example above than what we see today. I certainly get that feeling when I read St. Ignatius of Antioch (who actually replaced Saint Peter as Bishop there and not in Rome) write:

      “Take care to do all things in harmony with God, with the bishop presiding in the place of God, and with the presbyters in the place of the council of the apostles, and with the deacons, who are most dear to me, entrusted with the business of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father from the beginning and is at last made manifest…” Letter to the Magnesians 2, 6:1

      There is literally no mention of a single bishop having authority over all others. Which is particularly interesting considering Ignatius would have replaced the man who apparently held that level of singular authority within the church. One would imagine it would have crept into his very insightful writings on the church.

      Furthermore, he writes (this was the paraphrasing I pulled earlier):

      “Wherever the bishop appears, there let the people be; as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful to baptize or give communion without the consent of the bishop. On the other hand, whatever has his approval is pleasing to God. Thus, whatever is done will be safe and valid.” Letter to the Smyrnaeans 8

      Again, no mention of the pope or the Bishop of Rome. But an awful lot of direct authority from God placed upon “the bishop” meaning the local bishop of the church. This quote with the one I used above, together articulate the real authority of the catholic church and from a man who less than half a decade away from Christ here on earth (and the one who is credited with ascribing the term catholic to our faith).

      As for the last question, I am not entirely sure how to answer. The Bible is use is the Second Ed Catholic RSV with revisions current to Liturgiam Athenticam. The canon is not is dispute here at all. I think what you are getting at is that it was ratified by the Roman church during the Council of Trent in 1546, but that was when the Roman church decided those books. As Scott Hahn notes in the forward in the 2010 Ed of the Ignatious Catholic Study Bible (New Testament), the canon was already established well before that council and part were mentioned at Carthage in 379 and 419 to back that up. As well as a slew of other writers who cite the three synoptic Gospels and John often to the exclusion of others. To use an analogy of what the Roman church did during Trent with the Bible; after a large group of friends develop the rules to a new game together, a smaller group breaks off and, after ratifying the rules amongst themselves, degrees that they were the ones who came up with the game all along.

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      • EJ,

        I think both of us might benefit from a more in-depth examination of papal infallibility. I know I’m not educated enough in the subject to get much deeper. I am pretty sure the last time the pope spoke infallibly was in 1950. What I came to recognize in becoming Catholic was 1. There is a historical basis for the papacy and 2. There is a practical basis for the papacy. I’m willing to discuss those two aspects at greater length if you like. But how/when infallibility/dogma/doctrine takes place and the history of this development of papal authority seems outside the scope of this comment section and my poor little brain 🙂

        My respect for the authority of legitimate bishops is hopefully coming through in this discussion. I am glad that you are quoting St. Ignatius on the subject. Good stuff!

        I’m thrilled that you are using the RSV-CE! And your mention of Scott Hahn also makes me glad. It sounds like our resources are similar and that’s great. What I was getting at was this: The canon of 73 books was officialized by the Roman Catholic Church. As far as I know the Eastern Orthodox don’t have an official canon, and the Protestants basically agreed upon 66 books unofficially. I’m assuming the Anglicans went with 66…? Where individuals might fall is one thing, but if the 3 branches aren’t in unity on what is Scripture then doesn’t it beg the question of what is going on and what did God intend for His Church?

        It sounds like there’s no argument between us on the canon if you’re using the RSV-CE, and the fact that Scripture consisted of 73 books prior to Trent. The Council was reiterating the number in a way that could not be misunderstood by people who may have wanted to change the list.

        I’d like to clarify something for sake of accuracy. In my last comment, in saying that the male priesthood can’t change I said that the Church doesn’t have authority to change something Jesus Himself established. I might have been a bit careless with my wording. We Catholics believe that Jesus established all of the 7 Sacraments to include Holy Orders, right? So I may have been a bit rash in my wording by saying male priesthood. I was probably thinking of a reference I saw to Pope John Paul II in 1994 reminding everyone that the Church doesn’t have the power to ordain women. So it’s true that women can’t be Catholic priests but I just wanted to make sure I’m being as careful as I should be in my wording.

        I’m not really sure where to go from here with our conversation. But if there’s anything you’d like to discuss just ask. My sincere hope is that you might end up back in communion with Rome someday, but I regard you as a brother in Christ and I look forward to reading more of your blog and hope to get your thoughts on Benson’s book if you get a chance to read it.

        -Ben

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    • EJ,

      I want to thank you for your gracious handling of this good discussion. Maybe there can be more as we go along.

      I thought you might appreciate a tip that I recently learned about WordPress, that if you use too many tags (I think it’s 15, including categories) then your posts won’t show up on WordPress tag feeds for people to read. I did a search on why a post of mine wasn’t showing up and found an article with that info. Thought you might like to know!

      God bless!

      -Ben

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      • Thanks for the comment, and I whole heartedly agree that it was a fruitful and respectful discussion. Thank you for your insightful contributions. I cornered a Priest who was a former Roman Catholic today after mass and we are meeting for coffee sometime this week to talk about the very issues we broached. I am sure we can all agree about the seriousness of the implications of what both of us are talking about. The stakes are high for either of us being wrong or right or having a sound understanding.

        I did not know about the tags. And here I am tagging up my posts thinking the idea was to have as many as possible. Bloggers helping bloggers, we are literally all in this fight together. Thanks a lot for the tip!

        I hope you had a blessed Sunday.

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