6 August 2010

Anglicans submit to Apostolicae curae

Leo XIII, as a caput disciplinae, required that Anglican Orders be regarded as completely null and absolutely void. Has the Anglican Church submitted to this ruling?

Of course it hasn't; not in a public and formal way. But actions speak louder than words. In a curious sort of way, it has. In the secret Archives of Pusey House here in Oxford are the documents relating to the setting up of the scheme whereby Dutch schismatics, called Old Catholics, whose orders have always in Roman praxis been treated as valid, take part in Anglican episcopal consecrations. And those documents make absolutely and unmistakeably clear that the intention of the scheme was to circumvent Apostolicae curae, so that "the most severe Roman Catholic will find it hard to question the validity of Anglican Orders". The reason why this motive was not made public at the time is fairly obvious. But those documents make it clear. The Dutchman was to act as an Equal Principal Consecrator (not a coconsecrator), imposing both hands together with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and to say, aloud in Latin, the words from the Tridentine Pontificale which Roman Catholic theologians at that time universally regarded as being the Form of Episcopal Consecration. The Dutch Tutch was then to be transmitted by the same process until the Dutch Succession had completely permeated the Anglican Communion (as far as England is concerned, it has pretty well done so). Each stage was to be documented by the signing of elaborate Latin protocols. The existence of these complex legal documents, with witnesses attesting that they had seen the details of what was done, are themselves significant; you don't bother with all that sort of thing when somebody is just a coconsecrator.

In a funny old, ramshackle old, entirely Anglican, rather seedy, sort of way, this does constitute a compliance with the disciplinary requirements of Apostolicae curae, doesn't it?

But something then went wrong. Continues.

7 comments:

Joshua said...

The "something" was that the words the Dutchman said were not in fact those that Pius XII settled upon as, for the future, the essential ones. Is that right? (I seem to recall reading this in a much earlier post of yours.)

建邱勳 said...

你要保守你的心,勝過保守一切,因為一生的果效是由心發出................................................

William Tighe said...

A copy of what must surely be the last one of these Latin "protocols" is published as an appendix to the autobiograpny of Eric Kemp: *Shy But Not Retiring.* It is the one that was drawn up after his consecration as Bishop of Chichester in 1974.

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...

Even if it were accepted that supplementary valid orders were transmitted by the 'Dutch touch', the defective form in Anglican Ordination Rites would necessitate the same intervention at every ordination if the same supplied sanation were to be achieved.

Furthermore, since the Union of Utrecht has ordained women since 1996, it might be argued that they now have defective intention and will gradually lose valid orders as their older clergy die. The Roman Catholic Church has yet to publicly judge on this matter but it is interesting to note that the Polish National Catholic Church separated itself from the Union of Utrecht in 2004 on this very issue.

William Tighe said...

"but it is interesting to note that the Polish National Catholic Church separated itself from the Union of Utrecht in 2004 on this very issue."

Not to mention that the "Polish Touch" (i.e., the participation of PNCC bishops in various American and Canadian episcopal consecrations between 1946 and 1971) was conducted in a rather different manner: those PNCC bishops either laid on their hands in silence, or else, if they spoke any words at all, it was the words of the Episcopal Church's rite for the consecration of a bishop.

Mark said...

In 70 years or so it won’t matter, women bishops will permeate the Anglican Communion, and no doubt by then, there will have been one or two female Anglican ABs of C. Where perhaps an argument can be made today that male Anglican priests’ orders are valid by virtue of the Dutch Touch, the same cannot be said of women.

The higher obstacle is clearly that female ordinations are always and everywhere invalid in the eyes of the Catholic Church, consequently anyone ordained by a female will also be invalid, and that’s before one considers intention. No amount of seeking ways to circumvent the defective nature of Anglican ordination will matter, and where in the past good Anglican Clergy recognised that the Catholic Church had Apostolic Authority to pronounce on such matters (otherwise why did they ask the opinion of the Pope on this matter) I suspect the same cannot be said for the current intake of women Anglican divines.


In three score and ten, the present generation of Anglican Priests and Bishops will have largely gone to their eternal reward and so the law of diminishing returns will ensure the realisation of Pope Leos declaration.

I was not aware that Apostolicae Curae had any disciplinary requirements within it to comply with, just a statement culminating in the invalidity of Anglican Orders, outside of crossing the Tiber it does not propose a plan to remedy this defect.