14 September 2009

Hierarchy

Why is it that, in the authentic traditional ordination rites of the Western Church (by which I bet my RC clerical readers were no more ordained than I was ... let's just keep our respective fingers crossed and trust God that rites maimed by Cranmers or Bugninis do really work), presbyters had their hands anointed with the oil of catechumens, but bishops were anointed on the head with Chrism.

Is the difference of the oils used a mark of the superiority of bishops - to show that only the bishop has the summum sacerdotium of the Christos? Or something to do with the hierarchical superiority of heads over hands?

8 comments:

Christian said...

I am sure you know very well that the deficiencies of the New Rite Ordination and the Prayer Book are quite incomparable. Let us not forget that it is not the 1662 that is at issue; it is the 1558. There is nothing in the New Rite which could possibly make it invalid. The 1558 Prayer Book however...

Sir Watkin said...

Leaving aside Fr Hunwicke's deliberate tweaking of Christian's tail (and that of others) ....

"it is not the 1662 that is at issue; it is the 1558"

Actually, it is 1662 that is the issue, because the "Dutch Touch" introduced a new element.

Assuming (for the sake of the hypothesis) that 1558 was an invalid form but 1662 was not, the Church of England would - after 1662, but before the involvement of the Old Catholics in its ordinations - have had a valid rite, but not the Apostolic Succession. After that involvement it would have had both a valid rite and a restored Succession.

The key question therefore is whether 1662 is valid or not.

(N.B. To be pedantic the Prayer Book has no ordination rite: the so-called "ordinal" is often annexed to it, but not part of it.)

William Tighe said...

1559, please, not 1558.

It would be pleasant, and perhaps profitable, to have a discussion about the pros and cons of the Dutch Touch. I'm sure that Fr. Hunwicke recalls the private letter he wrote to me in October 2003, just after the death of Bishop John Richards, setting out the "sed contra" position (i.e., does the intent "to join the two streams" of episcopal succession really amount to an intention to validate possible invalid Orders?). And then there is the fact that in England between 1932 and 1959, and also at Eric Kemp's consecration in 1974, there was (a) a meticulous recording of the particulars in a Latin document and (b) at least until the old Catholics revised their ordination rites from the 1960s onwards, the participating old Catholic bishop(s) said aloud what were deemed (by some few RCs and others until Pius XII decided otherwise in 1947) to be the "operative words" from the Roman Pontifical, e.g., "Accipe Spiritum Sanctum ..." etc., whereas here in the States and Canada, when bishops of the Polish National Catholic Church joined in american Episcopalian or Canadian Anglican consecrations, as they did on occasion between 1946 and 1971, they merely laid their hands on in silence or said aloud the formulae from the official American or Canadian rites. (This last I had in personal conversation with the last living PNCC bishop who participated in such consecrations.)

William Tighe said...

And, Sir Watkin, I have not forgotten your query about Ruthin, posed elsewhere, but I am trying to contact my travelling companion, now a fellow of Sidney Sussex College, to see if he can refresh my memory about the "Marian monument" that we saw there, placed in the inner side of the Churchyard wall, somewhat to the left (as one exits) of the entrance to the Churchyard.

Sir Watkin said...

(I presumed that Christian's "1558" was a humorous/pedantic reference to the convention whereby the Act of Uniformity is dated 1558, when that session of Parliament began, even tho' the Act was passed in 1559 ....)

I agree that the Dutch Touch is not an open and shut case. (Is an Anglican matter ever so? Indeed is anything this side of Eternity - Videmus nunc per speculum in aenigmitate?) Most certainly worthy of further discussion. (Perhaps Fr Hunwicke might facilitate this with a posting.)

However, it does refocus the question on 1662 (rather than the Elizabethan rite), for whilst on the one hand, if it is true that the D.T. is a broken reed, the validity of 1662 becomes irrelevant, yet on the other, if the D.T. stands, it is 1662 that is crucial.

I look forward to hearing more, Dr Tighe, of the monument. The general description doesn't sound like Rhuthun. I am trying to think of something similar elsewhere!

Christian said...

Mr Tighe,

You also omit to mention that there can be some doubt as to weather the "Dutch Touch" would be valid when given in the context of an *Anglican* Liturgy. If the Anglicans do not have valid orders then their liturgies are not liturgies in the technical sense. Thus the performance of their rites does not constitute the correct context for an ordination or consecration to be valid, even if one of the bishops involved does have valid orders.

patrick said...

To add another fly to the ointment, John Jay Hughes was conditionally ordained to the Catholic priesthood in the 1960s. The Episcopal bishop who ordained him seems to have been Bishop Washburn of Newark. There is no evidence that I am aware of that the PNCC had anything to do with any of Washburn's consecrators (at least the 3 principal ones). I would be most curious to know the basis for Rome's decision. Could it have been a mistake?

William Tighe said...

Hughes was conditionally ordained to the priesthood in 1968 (when he was a postgraduate student in Germany) by the Bishop (or Archbishop) of Muenster. He alludes the circumstances of his conditional ordination in the preface to one of his books on Anglican Orders, whether *Absolutely Null and Utterly Void* (1968) or *Stewards of the Lord* (1970) I can't recall, but I do recall it was "conditional" due to the Old Catholic connection.

I had a long leisurely lunch with Fr. Hughes in 1996 while attending a historians' meeting in St. Louis. I have a vague recollection that it was the simple documented attestation of Old Catholic involvement in his Anglican ordination pedigree that moved his ordaining bishop to act as he did, and it is not clear whether he consulted Rome first or just acted on his own.