24 October 2008

Concelebration 4

Anglicanism is, when it comes to Cofirmation, the most prelatical tradition in Christendom. In Orthodoxy, the presbyter is the normal minister of Sealing or Consignation; in the Roman Catholic Church presbyters, by commission, regularly confirm and in certain circumstances (e.g. the Easter Vigil) law automatically delegates this office to presbyters. But Anglican bishops are disgustingly anally retentive. It is well known that, just as they cannot stomach the idea of any other bishop exercising jurisdiction within the territorial boundaries assigned to them by the Crown, so they cannot tolerate the idea of giving up the role of being the only confirmers (that, of course, is the reason given why over the last half-century there has been such an increase in the number of suffragan bishops: 50 years ago a Suffragan who was not also an Archdeacon was a very rara avis).

Of course, in the ancient churches of East and West presbyters confirm by virtue of the sacramental authority either implicitly or explicitly delegated to them by their Bishop, and their use of episcopally consecrated Chrism is but one sign of this. And that is why, in the modern Roman Rite, presbyters extend their right hands as the Pontiff says the Prayer for the Descent of the Holy Spirit. The priest is genuinely participating with his high priest in the conferring of this Sacrament. He is a concelebrant of the Sacrament. And all this might have a practical usefulness gfor Catholic Anglicans.

Perhaps we may have to go through a period of anomaly and confusion in which we do not have bishops, while we await the acquisition of enough courage by some retired bishops to consecrate new Ordinaries for us in defiance of the the Establishment and its clutch - like the grip of a drowning man - on the mechanisms of Tudor legalism. If so, the Common Law of the Western Church ... of which we claim de jure to be members ... allowing presbyters to confirm at the Easter Vigil and in the Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults, may be very useful to us.

The Oil of Chrism ... now there's another example of Concelebration. Watch this space.


Christopher said...

If I remember correctly, the Deans of Jersey and Guernsey confirm, as the sea voyage was held to be too much to expect of the Bishop of Winchester.

Christian said...

I am afraid to correct you but in the Western Church the bishop must explicitly delegate the right to confirm to a priest before it can be valid. Confirmation by a priest who merely has implicit faculties is invalid.

Fr.Ogs said...

Dear Father,
As you and I both know, the aim of 'The Bench' is to reduce Orders to one: Priests have, like the Kulaks under Stalin, been starved, threatened, and turned out. Parishes, since 'The Endowment & Glebe Measure' nationalised/expropriated, so that, to Dioceses, they now look like mere net costs. Surprisingly, the Laity have been unsupportive of these measures, so they too have been cajoled, threatened, browbeaten...
A little while ago, at a discussion-group, we were told about how, in France, one Bishop will serve three Cathedrals - 'whereas here' I could not refrain from saying (no doubt 'sourly & scurrilously')'one Cathedral will be served by three Bishops.' Before long, the Church of England will have no Laity, no Deacons, no Priests - but oh, ever so many Bishops!
Fr. Ogs

Gengulphus said...

Fr Ogs

The 'Endowment & Glebe Measure' nationalised/expropriated [local resources], so that, to Dioceses, [the parochial clergy] now look like mere net costs.

I congratulate the accuracy with which you single out this particular 'reform' as one of the key acts which prepared the way for the present disastrous situation.

I recall with both glee and poignancy the meeting at which my churchwarden - whose family had farmed the glebe at least since the early C19th, and whose extended family constituted the bulk of the PCC - said, uncomprehendingly, to the archdeacon: "What do you mean, 'There is not enough money to pay for a priest - we have always paid our rent."

Fr.Ogs said...

Dear Gengulphus,
I am surprised only to learn of a Diocesan apparatchik actually using the 'm' -word: I thought they always spoke of 'pastoral needs...' 'avoiding isolation...' 'lack of Ordinands...'. I am convinced that, had the C. of E. actually told people in, say, 1950, that the money was running out, and that they would soon, like every Dissenting Conventicle and every Italian Mission, have to pay for their Priest/Minister, they would have been d***ed rather than let those upstarts outdo them. But honesty has, I suppose, never been the C. of E.'s strongest suit.
I recall a farmer telling me that they still paid their Tithes: 'To whom?' I asked. 'Because the State bought out tithes ages ago, and deliberately fixed the price against corn in a year when corn was low. You look again, and I think you'll find your payments are to The Government...'
And so, Thomas Cromwell's despoliation of the Church continues: and those administering - from Church Commissioners down to Diocesan Surveyors - are complicit (they'll stand to get some 'repeat business' from those whom they favour, at the Church's expense).
Fr. Ogs