Wednesday, July 11, 2007

An Unsacramental Priest's Bellyache

Many in the Anglican blogosphere seem to be taking offense these days.

So I will join the crowd and indulge a brief bellyache and issue my own little bullish response to the most recent papal statement, which has caused quite a stir.

Regardless of what the Pope says, I still believe in the sacramental priesthood and that I remain, however imperfectly, a member of that Order. I also believe I serve the Church, despite the reminder by His Holiness that we are not a church. As I pronounced last rites for a remarkable Christian of the community I serve this past week and then shared communion with his loving family, I find the Pope's statement pastorally callous, however rooted it might be in Roman Catholic ecclesiology.

It is the Spirit and God in Christ at work in the "ecclesiastical community" that defines the Church and makes the sacraments valid, not the magisterium declaring proper apostolic succession, nor my personal virtue or lack of same.

I still love my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters. The path to ecumenical relationship and the persistent dream of reunification, however wistful, is through our incarnate, shared ministries in the community -- not through the doors of the Vatican. But the Pope continues to have my prayers, and unconditional ones at that.

As Tobias Haller writes, he has said nothing new, and that should suffice as an antacid.

There, that's succinct and straightforward as far as bellyaches go. Off to unload the dishwasher.

Update before lunch: The widely circulated AP Report notes speculation but little substance about the motivation behind the Vatican's statement making such a statement at this time.

So we are left with Daniel's incessant question these days: Dooshite? Why?

Maybe the Pope needs a few more questioning three-year-olds around him!

So says this Papa, at least.

Update during lunch: Tobias has risen to the occasion and offered a more in-depth analysis.

Daniel would likely continue to press the question. So do I!


Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

In response to your "Dooshite" I would respond "exuberant ecumenists kara"!

Seriously, I attempt an answer at this in a short catechism I've must posted.


R said...

Soo desu ka?

With no criticism intended for your fine further analysis, I follow Daniel's example by simply re-posing the question:


Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Well, let me also add that it is a bit of a slap-back to the ultra-conservative wing, with its reminder that obedience to the pope and the bishops is part of the package. This is the "hand that taketh away" after the other one gave them the Latin Mass last week...

I suspect this is also a high sign to the Anglican Communion, reminding them of the need for both "communion" and "governance" if you want to be "a real Church." Not that I think we're buying, but I think this is part of the "why now?"

3-yr olds make tough interlocutors. Perhaps he should be a deputy to GC?

R said...

To quote Francis Urquhart,

"You might think that. . .I couldn't possibly comment."

June Butler said...

Richard, I think you are number six of Episcopal bloggers I read to write about the pope's latest statement.

Why should I, a member of the Episcopal Church, care what the pope says about my church? Even when I was still a member of the RCC, I had long abandoned my belief in the infallibility of the pope.

I don't want or need his approval.

I love my RC brothers and sisters, many of whom are family and friends, but I feel sympathy for them having a leader who makes such arrogant and judgmental statements.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Richard, since you've been following this, I've expanded on the Dooshite? response I gave you yesterday at my blog.

And ps I just saw a rerun of To Play the King last week... what a delicious actor Sir Ian was! Though I couldn't possibly say that...