letters to the editor
Faith of the clergy
From Mr Alan Bartley bsc arcs
Charles Raven rightly critiqued Archbishop Rowan William ‘s Roman Lecture [ND December] with its overemphasis on the agreed oneness of the Baptised as the Church as his key to ecumenical unity. Could the Archbishop’s problem be his misapplication of democracy to the Church, allied with a mysticism that allows him to abdicate responsibility for his part in the state of the Church?
While there may be an embryonic Church where two or three are gathered together, its maturity and stability presumes a clergy who are to ‹guide, discipline and lead the flock of Christ to the fulness of holiness. In this coming fullness I see a united God-given clergy and Episcopacy.
When Elizabeth I became Queen, Archbishop Heath of York protested that as a woman she could not be a pastor of Christ’s Church. So we took pains to assert that as Supreme Governor she was not a minister of the Church and her position gave her no authority to preach or expound the Word or minister the Sacraments. We altered Article 37 to make this clear.
From this it follows that she is the protector of the Church not its ruler, and so are those with delegated authority from her. Bishop Christopher Wordsworth confirmsthis with a quote from Chief Justice Coke: ‘English Law... in order to ‹guard the Church from any damage in her spiritual inheritance, or sinister intention of any of her Rulers, regards the Church as a Minor, in a state of tutelage; and the Supreme Ruler stands in the Relation of a Guardian to her, who cannot commit waste in the estate of his Ward.’
Hence the present Queen’s ministers, Parliament or their child, General Synod, have no authority to change or determine the teaching or practice of the Church. All they can do is consent to and protect what her true bishops and clergy have always upheld from its earliest times. It is they who exercise discipline by giving or withholding the sacraments, especially Communion.
So what is my reflection on the Archbishop’s point that, as baptised members of one and the same Church, we all should soon be united? Well this misses the whole point of a God-given clergy who have been gifted and called to this ministerial vocation. The reasons we have disunited competing Churches is that we have divisions in the clergy – they do not all agree who are validly their brother clergy.
Some groups of clergy are sectarian in restricting their Church to those who assent to their errors and thus cut themselves o¶ from others who do not so err. Others welcome liberalswho doubt even key doctrines of the Catholic Creeds. Others, contrary to reason, tradition and Scripture allow women to be ordained. Part of the developing fulness of the Church will be its holiness, and this means purging from the clergy those unworthy or unqualified.
We may not be able to remove all in the succession of Judas Iscariot, but surely the clergy are duty bound to remove those who reject the inscripturated Gospel Faith and Practice as believed everywhere, always, and by all in those Apostolic Churches of the first ages?
In seeking to recover that minimal early purity, perhaps the first thing to do is to repent of the ordination of women and adopt the Creeds, Two Sacraments and Ten Commandments, as originally given and meant, as the test of clerical orthodoxy.
To sum up, the Archbishop’s paradox can be resolved by simply remembering that the true and faithful clergy have been placed in charge and can only accept within their ranks those who are both qualified and who teach and practice the true revealed faith.
17 Francis Road, Greenford
More on those old hymns From Mr Malcolm Kemp
You kindly printed in your October issue of NEW DIRECTIONS a letter from me about Anglo-Catholic hymns. I received a number of varied, interesting and helpful replies and am most grateful for these.
The way forward seems to be for me to produce a booklet for the Anglo-Catholic History Society. Ideally one would also like to be able to produce a book containing the words and music for the many home-grown hymns that parishes have produced over the years, as parish priests do seem to have been keen to write hymns for their patronal festivals.
Realistically cost, time, and copyright issues probably make this impractical but I would be very happy to maintain copies of these hymns, and indeed hymn books and hymn leaflets, centrally so that people can contact me in the first instance when information is needed. I know that many churches are a little reluctant to let ‘their’ hymns, hymn tunes and other liturgical music outside their own parishes but, if anyone would like to forward single, file copies of words and/or music to me I will be happy to look after them. and make them available as appropriate and as copyright laws permit.
Thanks again to all those who responded so readily to my original letter.
Malcolm Kemp <email@example.com>
From Fr Ian Falconer
So FiF’s own Jeremy Clarkson, John Turnbull, hates caravans [and not content, December]. Does this include the caravan awaited by our good Bishop Andrew, that will carry a succession of people across the Tiber? Perhaps John expects it to make a slow journey, constantly pulling over for those hell-bent on reaching Rome post-haste,
Jehus in their chariots. Maybe we shall be wise to remain parked in the CofE, maintaining our right to our pitch, unless and until we are forcibly and unjustly evicted as trespassers.
70 Lowgates, Staveley, Chesterfield
From Fr Raymond Wallace
I was absolutely bemused by John Turnbull’s unwarranted and uncharitable umbrella criticism of all caravanners observed in his short history of thirty years of driving. I have been a member of the Caravan Club for at least forty years and I know that the Club, in its code of conduct, recommends that members, when they see traffic building up behind them, pull into a lay-by, or similar place, to allow solo cars to pass.
I have always observed this rule of courtesy, as I know so many others do. I still do so even when not in a hurry driving a solo car. I am not looking for a halo but just wish to keep the record straight.
141 Dunsmore Road, Luton
From Mr L. Haward
Thank heaven somebody has at last thought to nail in public that hoary and nonsensical old sound-bite about the Church’s existing for the benefit of outsiders [and not content, November] with its inescapable corollary that members must eventually become non-members… and thereafter continue indefinitely on the merry-go-round of subscribing and defecting… I do wish that slogan-traders would occasionally listen to, and analyse, what they are so casually delivering.
As a matter of interest, I first heard it on the lips of Father Groser, venerable priest and film-star, in the Fifties, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t William Temple’s.
27 Lansdowne Road, London
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