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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Pope Finally Accepts AC VII

Or something like that. Recent news that the Vatican is opening a wide door to Anglicans dissatisfied with the crumbling of historic Christianity in that communion includes this paragraph:

Preserving Anglican traditions, such as mass rites, adds to the diversity of the Catholic Church, [CDF head Cardinal Levada] said.

"The unity of the church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows," he said. "Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: 'There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism."

Compare AC VII.2-4: "And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike. As Paul says: One faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all, etc. Eph. 4:5-6."

At this point I think we Lutherans are supposed to insert the traditional mea culpa to the effect that "isn't it too bad that the Anglicans looked to Rome instead of to Wittenberg. . . " And there is some merit there. The Lutheran relationship with Anglicanism showed promise in the 16th century and there is much that we share.

However, the Anglicans were never coming our way. As today's news shows, what animates Anglicanism (at least in its High Church as opposed to Low, Broad, and Evangelical branches) is a doctrine of the ministry identical to Rome's: specifically, the theory that one can give only part of the Apostolic Office to some men (priests and deacons) while passing it on wholly to others (bishops). That's just not what the Treatise teaches - nor, if you ask me, what the Scriptures teach (and here AC Piepkorn's article really is a must read).

This is also one important reason why no such door is likely to be held open for dissastisfied Lutherans in the near-Anglican LWF communions. Lutheranism has always been more about Justification, Church, and Ministry - that is doctrine - while Anglicanism's confused political history has always meant that it was less so.

All the same - it is a shame what's become of Anglicanism. I can't blame these good folks for wanting out.

+HRC
Pr. H. R.15 Comments