I read with interest a week or so ago at the decision to cancel an ordination service by Methodists at the Liverpool Cathedral (Roman Catholic). Please find below an article by the EChurch Blog athttp://blog.echurchwebsites.org.uk/2011/05/29/blogs-responsible-vatican-stopping-methodist-ordination-liverpool-cathedral/
Permission had initially been granted for the service by Archbishop Patrick Kelly, but subsequently reversed after “advice” from the Vatican.
The Catholic Herald notes:
The proposed ordination service was roundly attacked by Catholic bloggers earlier this year. One called it “sacrilege”, while others criticised it for the confusion it would bring.
“It might result in people who protest against Catholic truth… conducting a service in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in whose presence they don’t believe,” Ben Trovato wrote on the blog Countercultural Father. He continued: “It might lead people to imagine some equivalence between Methodism and the One True Church founded by Christ.”
And so the question has been raised as to the possibility of the Vatican picking up on the discomfort of these Catholic bloggers, and intervening and proffering their advice to the Archbishop accordingly.
Now, please read the various links, they are interesting. What caused me to write this article was a particular tweet by a person who is on the ordination track (according to the Twitter profile), which suggested something at the very heart of the Roman Catholic position – that of that old chestnut Transubstantiation or not. It is of further importance as it reflects the confusion within the Anglican Communion, and in particular the Church of England.
So, the Roman Catholic decision had to be turned back on grounds of: “It might result in people who protest against Catholic truth… conducting a service in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in whose presence they don’t believe,” Ben Trovato wrote on the blog Countercultural Father. He continued: “It might lead people to imagine some equivalence between Methodism and the One True Church founded by Christ.” found athttp://caritasveritas.blogspot.com/2011/05/methodist-ordination-at-catholic.html .
Now, bearing in mind the Church of England has gone to great lengths to hang on to a notion of common interests being experienced between the two denominations, and a view to a universal church and being able to practice them together, I find it very contradictory when you take a look at the 39 Articles of Faith by the Church of England. I draw your attention to namely (especially in bold text emphasized by myself):
“XXVIII. Of the Lord’s Supper.
THE Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves, one to another, but rather it is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ, and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ.Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.
The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith. The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.”
The above can be found at http://www.cofec.org/The%2039%20Articles%20of%20Religion.pdf
What is to be concluded from this? Well, it first of all raises issues regarding the relationship between the Methodists and the Anglicans. We have to remember that there are very close ties between the two denominations as many of their practices are common (albeit the Methodists have a tradition of being gender inclusive in relation to the Ordination of women and offices that can be held. Both denominations reject Transubstantiation, and yet the Anglicans are welcomed by the Roman Catholics, especially when there is an offer of crossing the Tiber!
Do we have a very different motivation in the Roman Catholic attitude to Anglicanism that is beyond theology? Maybe there is more status and real-estate to be had in coaxing Anglicans or influencing them with a concept that seems to be false, a divided unity?
I look forward to any comments.