Sunday, January 02, 2011

Anglican Priest-Turned-Roman Now Exits Rome

HT: Truth Unites ... and Divides
… as an Anglican priest who, with high ideals but considerably lower savvy, “poped” back in 1997, all I can say to those who may be thinking likewise is this: Unless you know in your heart you can believe in such super-added dogmas as papal supremacy and infallibility (very late inventions), that Jesus did not need to possess “faith” during his earthly years (to which I respond, was he or was he not fully human?), and that the bread and wine physically change into his body and blood during the Eucharist without any palpable evidence of it; unless you can believe in Mary’s “Immaculate Conception” (an unnecessary and unverifiable belief, if ever there was one), her bodily assumption, and so on, then I would urge you to stay put. You already have everything you need, and, what Rome would add to you, you not only do not need, but should positively avoid weighing yourselves down with. Anglicanism is doctrinally sound and blessed with great forms of worship. Rome is neither. As for Rome’s claims to a vastly superior moral authority -- well, I would venture to say that after such revelations as clerical sexual abuse on an international scale and their bank’s money-laundering, the lie has been put to that.

No, don’t make my mistake. I wouldn’t make it again myself, and, as it is, I’m making my way out the Roman door.

Just a word to the wise. (Emphasis added but not super-added.)
Addison H. Hart is a [now former] Roman Catholic priest, ordained under the Pastoral Provision for former Anglican Priests. He resides with his wife and two children in DeKalb, Illinois, where he is Associate Pastor at Christ the Teacher University Parish and the Newman Catholic Center for Northern Illinois University. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.

That brief bio was taken from a 2000 article that Hart had written for Touchstone, Convert Provocateurs. I used to read Touchstone regularly, until they got a Roman Catholic editor; after that the whole enterprise went down hill.

This comment came in response to a post from his brother, Fr. Robert Hart, at a blog called "The Continuum," on the topic of, well, maintaining your Anglican heritage in the face of all the adversity. He, too, thinks little of "the Latin-Romans":
Clean off the ring of doubt around your collar, and learn how to embrace the strength of your own heritage, including the riches you have almost thrown away because the Latin-Romans did not understand them. So, they don’t know valuables from trash; but, what’s your excuse?

Do you know where the story of Saint Veronica [of "Veronica's Veil" fame] comes from, and why she is not known to the Eastern churches? It is because the Romans did not know what the phrase Very Icon (true image, i.e. of Christ’s face) meant. They thought it was a name, and so a legend, pure fiction, developed to the point where you can’t watch a movie about Christ without the scene of some woman with a veil wiping the Lord’s face. Well, it is pretty much the same story when it comes to Roman understanding of English, or Anglicanism.
For those of you who are Roman Catholic, or considering a move in that direction: it genuinely is a bankrupt system.

33 comments:

Kim said...

Having spent some time in EO I can tell you that they are aware of St. Veronica and I was informed within the church that she was the woman with the issue of blood and the same one who wiped Christ's face on the way to His execution. So they are aware of her. I was even considering her as my chosen saint. I don't know where they took the info about her from.

John, I know you are an ex-Catholic, but I sure would appreciate you looking into EO as I think it will become a bigger issue as more and more Protestants and ex-caths are drawn there to what they think is the only other alternative.

Thanks for all you do.

John Bugay said...

Hi Kim, I don't know "what they knew, when they knew it" about Veronica. Maybe they "know" about her now, I have not studied that particular issue at all. But I have little reason to doubt that that's the genesis of "St. Veronica".

Rhology is our resident expert on EOxy. How long were you there? He has some excellent posts on Orthodoxy from a while back. Maybe it will be a good time for him to pull some of that out.

Kim said...

I was there for about 4 months. Not a long time, but long enough when you jump in with both feet like I did. I'm a fast and voracious learner and couldn't get enough of it at first.

Maybe that's why it didn't take me long to realize something was amiss there. I was definitely romanced in, but "woke up" after "praying" this prayer/hymn to Mary on the advice of a cradle Orthodox friend in the church. I couldn't believe how far the Church went with her in that hymn and just had to step back and rethink everything.

Thanks for the tip about Rhology. I've seen some of his writings on the EOC and will look for more.

John Bugay said...

Back when I was thinking about leaving Rome, I considered Orthodoxy briefly, but it didn't take much to convince me that wasn't where I wanted to go.

Kim said...

Curious, John. What about it made you reject it?

John Bugay said...

Ultimately it was the doctrine of justification. I became convinced that the Reformation had the best understanding of the Scriptures.

But there were other things, too; my exit from Rome wasn't "all of a sudden," it took a lot of time and I had to successively overcome a lot of objections (ultimately, I wanted to overovercome every single objection -- that curse about leaving, you know). And Eastern Orthodoxy was just too much like Rome.

All of those things contributed, I would say.

Kim said...

Yes, I agree. Once I stepped back I got straight to the core issues that should've been first on my list, but weren't, I'm ashamed to say. I had been so romanced by the whole development of doctrine thing that I started believing that the Church (whether RC or OC) knew better than I did and softened up on what I had known from the Scriptures about justification by faith.

It seemed like the Church viewed me as "not yet" a Christian because I was originally baptized in an Assemblies of God church and not "validly". They believe in baptismal regeneration, which I struggled to reconcile with Scriptures about faith saving us. I felt like an outsider even though I'd been a Christian for 20 years after having a true conversion.

It seemed biblically safer for me to fall back to my Protestant beliefs. So here I am. But I do miss the majesty of EO. Doctrine is more important, though, and I had lost sight of that.

James Swan said...

Here's something related I read over at Catholic Answers today:

What do you do if you regret converting?


I converted to the Catholic Church almost five years ago, and unfortuantely I've spent the last six months or so regretting it. Maybe regretting is too strong a word. But I look back on my conversion, and I realize that I believed the Church was true because I wanted it to be true. I ignored what my professors and my pastor said about the Catholic Church, because I wanted to believe that the Church was true, and converted in spite of what they taught.

I still think it's possible that the Church is true, maybe even probable. But I don't think that it's something that we can know with any kind of certainty. It's sad in a way, because I used to really love the Church, but I don't think I'll ever feel that way again. On the other hand, it might have saved me from doing something really extreme, like dying for the Church. The Catholic Church may be the greatest thing ever invented by man, but if it's invented by man, than it's not worth dying for

And yet, I still wish that I could believe, the way I used to believe.

John Bugay said...

Kim, where are you attending church now?

Development of doctrine is a tricky thing, because Protestants do believe in development as well, to some degree. I've got a couple of posts that discuss it in some detail, here (part 1) and here (part 2).

John Bugay said...

James, I didn't read the whole thread, but down further, it came to this:

One of the strongest arguments for the divine origin of the Catholic Church is its persistance and growth in the world despite the attempts of those outside the Church to destroy it, the attempts of those within the Church (heretics and schismatics) to destory it, and the sometimes widespread moral corruption of its members and its leadership.

This is not an "argument for divine origin," it's more like an evidence that bureaucracies have a life of their own.

Rome has retreated to a tremendous degree just in our lifetimes, and I'm convinced that that retreat is just going to keep on keepin' on.

Information about what Rome is is just too widespread and too freely available; people are no longer willing to "see white" at Rome's insistence, when their own eyes see white. It's just too far a stretch, and Christianity is far too credible to put up with nonsense like that.

Kim said...

We'll be going back to a PCA church we were attending. My hubby and kids went today. I stayed home with a cough.

I'll check out your posts, thanks!

John Bugay said...

Thanks Kim :-)

Viisaus said...

This is not a new phenomenon. Already back in the Victorian era, some "Oxford Movement" Anglican converts to Romanism ended up having second thoughts, like one Edmund Ffoulkes for example.

Ffoulkes describes how observing the behavior of "cradle Catholics" in Spain were a part of his disillusionment:

The church's creed, or the Crown's creed?: a letter to the Most Rev. Archbishop Manning (1869)

pp. 66, 67-68

"I have another anecdote to tell of the same kind from what happened to me when in Spain much more recently. I spent the latter part of Lent, including Holy Week, at Seville; and had looked forward to the ceremonies immediately preceding Easter there with no small interest. But when the time for them arrived, I never saw services more coldly conducted or more scantily attended, and ceremonies less productive, in appearance at least, of any devotional feelings.
...

From Seville I proceeded to a small village in the neighbourhood of the Sierra of most primitive description. There I remained several months. There was early Mass most mornings of the week: but I seldom, if ever, saw any but women at it: and these rarely more than from ten to twenty. But on Sundays at High Mass, the church, which was of considerable size for a village church, was crammed full of men and women, the former thronging the choir as far as it would contain them, where I sat myself. I took some pains to examine, but I never could discover anybody, man, woman, or child, in the whole congregation who used a book besides myself: and whatever may have been their inmost feelings, which I do not pretend to decipher, the countenances of the men bespoke nothing but listless apathy.
...

Altogether I quitted this village feeling strongly that there was certainly not more real Christianily practised in it than in my own native parish in Wales, if so much; that the Welsh there were better educated and more intelligent in their devotions beyond comparison than these specimens of Andalusia, and that the clergyman there could not at all events have a woman sitting at the head of his table who was neither his wife nor his relation."


This last part refers to the way RC priests have often (with the knowledge and approval of their parishioners) de facto avoided forced celibacy by taking a public mistresses who are their wives "in all but name" as they are not allowed officially to marry them.

John Bugay said...

Viisaus, somehow you come up with the most arcane stuff...

I'm very glad you share it with us here.

Kim said...

John, I read your posts. The differences between Development 1 and Development 2 make me think of micro and macro evolution. Development 1 is like micro evolution whereas change occurs, but from within the same species to create something of the same kind such as the development of the doctrine of the Trinity. And then Development 2 is like macro evolution which reproduces something entirely different like praying to the saints or looking to Mary as a co-redemptrix.

I now think I understand what you mean about a development of doctrine that is proper. The important thing about Development 1 is that it is always proved by the Scriptures, while Dev. 2 cannot be unless you twist and turn and look at it askew. The Orthodox have very good explanations for why they do what they do (i.e. pray to Mary and the saints, kiss and venerate icons, etc.). The question is, how far do you go to make something fit within Scripture before it collapses? (That's a rhetorical question, btw.)

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

It'll be interesting to see whether Fr. Addison Hart goes to Canterbury, Constantinopole, Wittenburg, or Geneva.

Lvka said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
steelikat said...

Kim

"regeneration saves you" in no way contradicts "faith saves you." When God regenerates you, he gives you saving faith.

steelikat said...

John,

I remember your Newman Development articles. I am reminded that your distinction is one that I find helpful. I think they are worth reading for anyone who hasn't done so yet.

Kim said...

Steelikat, I was regenerated before I received baptism. I was truly born again. My eyes were opened and I believed. My baptism, which took place weeks later, did not regenerate me. That's my point.

John Bugay said...

I remember your Newman Development articles. I am reminded that your distinction is one that I find helpful. I think they are worth reading for anyone who hasn't done so yet.

Thanks Steelikat, I appreciate the recommendation.

steelikat said...

Kim,

"Steelikat, I was regenerated before I received baptism."

OK, but even if you hadnt been regenerated until your baptism it wouldn't mean you weren't saved by faith. There is no contradiction between saying you are saved by faith and saying you are saved by regeneration. When God regenerates you he gives you saving faith.

Kim said...

Steelikat, not sure what point you're trying to make. I said I was regenerated...born again. Yes, God gave me saving faith.

steelikat said...

Kim,

I probably misunderstood something you said. You seemed to be indicating that you had trouble reconciling baptismal regeneration with saving faith. I was simply pointing out that the two things are completely compatible.

Kim said...

I was simply pointing out that the two things are completely compatible.

Steelikat, how so?

steelikat said...

Kim,

"Steelikat, how so?"

How are the two things compatible? When you are regenerated, you receive faith, and it is through that faith that you are justified. So it is true in one sense to say that the second birth saved you but equally true to say that faith saved you. You can also use a more all-encompassing assertion such as "I am graciously saved by the unmerited favor of God through faith in Christ because of His atoning sacrifice." There is no incompatibility.

steelikat said...

Kim,

The main reason I'm having trouble telling you why they are compatible is that you haven't said why you think they are incompatible (in fact it seems like you've vacillated a little bit on whether or not you think they are incompatible but again I am probably just misunderstanding you).

If you just tell me what specifically you think the incompatibility is (if you do think they are incompatible) I'll focus on that.

Kim said...

Steelikat, if a baby (who cannot produce faith yet) is baptized do you believe the baptism regenerates him? The RCC and OC believe it does because they believe in baptismal regeneration. My point is that faith must be present for regeneration to occur. I hope I'm being clearer.

steelikat said...

Kim,

So your incompatibility is not between regeneration being called "saving" and faith being called "saving," rather you think infant baptismal regeneration is incompatible with saving faith because 1. you don't believe God gives baptized babies saving faith, and 2. you believe that you have to have faith first before you can be born again. Right?

I disagree. I think babies do receive the gift of faith when and if they are born again. I also am not comfortable with the idea that faith must come before regeneration and causes regeneration. Calvinists are very careful to say that regeneration comes first, that as a result of regeneration and only after regeneration you receive the faith that justifies you. While I'm not so dogmatic that I want to be careful to strictly parse out the order of things the way Calvinists do, I think Calvinism is closer to the truth than your idea that you have to have faith first before you are born again. That seems backwards to me. It is because I am born again that I trust in Christ and have saving faith, not the other way around. See Eph 2:5. Can someone who is dead have faith or does he have to be made alive first?

Normally I think of it as something that happens all at once--Regeneration, faith, justification, and even the beginning of sanctification, but if you have to pick whether faith or regeneration is logically prior, I would have to agree with Calvin (and Augustine, Luther, and Aquinas), that regeneration has to be seen as prior to faith and you don't need to have faith first in order to be born again.

So that's why I see salvation by regeneration and salvation by faith as compatible.

steelikat said...

Kim,

I do see where you are coming from. In the churches I was reared in, which were Arminian like the Assembly of God, we learned that faith comes first and it is because somebody first has faith that he is born again.

Kim said...

Normally I think of it as something that happens all at once--Regeneration, faith, justification, and even the beginning of sanctification, but if you have to pick whether faith or regeneration is logically prior, I would have to agree with Calvin (and Augustine, Luther, and Aquinas), that regeneration has to be seen as prior to faith and you don't need to have faith first in order to be born again.

Steelikat, I think we're just talking past each other. I didn't say faith came before regeneration. I said it must be present for regeneration to take place, meaning they are wed together. I agree with you that it is simultaneous. Forgive me for not being clearer. I used the baby as an example of someone who has no clue about the gospel and yet is presumed to be regenerate merely because of the ACT of baptism where faith is not a consideration, except the parents'.

Was that clearer?

steelikat said...

Kim,

"I didn't say faith came before regeneration. I said it must be present for regeneration to take place, meaning they are wed together...Was that clearer?"

I am beginning to see what you are saying. But now I don't see what your incompatibility is. If the sinner doesn't need to already have faith in order to be born again, then there is no reason to make a pre-existing faith a consideration when baptizing him. We can be confident and have faith that when he is born again he will receive faith.

Kim said...

Dude, I have totally lost interest in this conversation. If anyone else would like to take this up, feel free. I think I've been clear enough on what I was trying to say. Got supper to make!