Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cardinal Kasper: Anglican Orders Not Valid

The Times of London has reported today that Walter Cardinal Kasper just finished addressing the Anglican bishops at the Lambeth Conference and stated that Anglican orders will never be recognized as valid.
"The Roman Catholic Church has finally ended all hope that Anglican priestly orders will ever be recognized as valid."
Cardinal Kasper heads the Council of Christian Unity in the Vatican. He went on to say that relations between Rome and Canterbury have been compromised, especially with the ‘ordination’ of priestesses and soon bishopesses. As well as comparing the Anglican Communion to Protestant Churches.
"It seems to us that the Anglican Communion is very close to the Protestant Churches of the sixteenth century and is taking a position that those Churches took until the second half of the twentieth century."

We need to remember that Pope Leo XIII declared Anglican orders "null and void" in his 1896 papal bull, Apostolicae Curae. So I'm curious to know why Cardinal Kasper mentioned this at all because if the Anglican orders were recognized as invalid in 1896, they would still be invalid today. Maybe my readers may be able to shed a bit more on this.

6 comments:

I read somewhere that Anglicans responded to the Pope's letter by sending him a letter defending their ordination rite and even further by getting Old Catholic bishops to ordain their bishops (just in case their apostolic succesion was invalid).

The Bull of 1896 declared Anglican orders to be, as of that date, invalid due to irregularities in the time of Elizabeth I, from which point no Anglican bishop was a bishop in apostolic succession capable of conferring orders.

Subsequently to the 1896 Bull, Anglicans adopted a practice of having Old Catholic (a schismatic group) bishops participate in consecrations of Anglican bishops. Anglicans argue that they have thus re-established apostolic succession. Rome has made no definative statement regarding this claim. However, in one high-profile case--the conversion and entering into the Roman Catholic priesthood of the former Anglican Bishop of London-- the Catholic ordination was "conditional" reconizing that the actiong of the Old Catholics may have been efficatious.

David,

Thank you for that bit of history. That is very interesting information and something to chew on for a bit.

I'm way of 'Old Catholics', but not those from the post-Vatican I era, but those of today 2008. I'm aware of some Old Catholic parishes just having gone way off the deep end in their theology and practice.

Truly insightful stuff.

If Catholics (albeit nominal) can find wriggle room round things like Humane Vitae then non-Catholics - even tought they are Catholiciszing Anglicans) can definitely find wriggle room round Apostolicae Curae. And they do. Therefore it is worth Cardinal Kasper repeating. In my view it is the fact that the "liberal" (="good") Cardinal Kasper is saying this is what is interesting). Some Anglicans say that Leo XIII was relying on false history and is therefore wrong. Other point to the fact that some Anglican clergy are surreptitiously ordained (usually immediately after the public Anglican ceremonly) by Old Catholic Bishops who can validly confirm orders. On that point: I am not a theologian but my understanding of the point of Apostolicae Curae is that not only for about 100 years was the Anglican ordination rite explicitly unCatholic but that Anglican clergy are ordained for an heretical service. So it wouldn't matter if the Pope himself ordained an Anglican clergy man. If the clergyman in question was ordained in order that he could minister as an Anglican then his orders - even if carried out according to the Roman Ritual by the Pope - still would not be valid. I might have misunderstood. In any case the fact that a priest is by definition one who offers sacrifice and since Anglicanism rejects the sacrifice of the Mass (read the 39 articles!) then by definition an Anglican clergyman cannot be a priest.

Anonymous said...

Hole in one Tee Pee Gee Eff - "I'm not a theologian". You could've fool me mate.

Laudan said...

I am curious as to what Cardinal Kasper is specifically refering to when he says,"It seems to us that the Anglican Communion is very close to the Protestant Churches of the sixteenth century and is taking a position that those Churches took until the second half of the twentieth century."
What was their position? And I thought Anglican's were protestants, have they changed?

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