Anglican: What's in a Name?
by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Carmino de Catanzaro, late Bishop of Ottawa
We are Anglican in background and tradition. We are Catholic - not in the sense of Roman Catholic, though, no doubt, we have much in common with them. Rather, we accept the whole Christian Faith. We don't want to be “cafeteria-style” Christians, who pick and choose the parts of the Christian religion that we like, and turn up our noses at the rest.
We therefore accept all that Jesus Christ has taught. He is the eternal Son of God, ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life,' Who was born into this world as a human child of the Blessed Virgin Mary, lived among us as a perfect human being, died on the Cross, rose from the dead, and lives and reigns for evermore. He is the Center of our Faith - no one else. What we believe, we believe because of Him. He is the standard of what is right or wrong, true or false - not what society or the contemporary world thinks.
Because we believe in Jesus Christ, we believe in the Bible. We believe the Bible because it speaks of Him, His acts and His teachings. The Old Testament points forward to Him; the Gospels tell us of His birth, life, death and resurrection; it looks back on them and reflects on them in the Acts and Epistles of the New Testament reflect on the meaning of His life among us, the Church He came to establish, and the new life to which we are called. The Bible looks forward to His Second Coming and final Judgment of mankind in the Book of Revelation. The Bible is infinitely precious to us because of Jesus Christ. We do not want to avoid it’s teaching or explain it away its demands!
Because we believe in Jesus Christ, we accept the three ancient Creeds of the Churcch: Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian. They summarize what Christians, guided by the Holy Spirit, have always believed about Him. We recite them with a sure and certain confidence, not with “tongue in cheek” or “crossing our fingers.” They express the truths by which we as Jesus’ disciples live and die.
Because we believe in Jesus Christ, we accept His commandments. We know that we are responsible to Him as the Lord and Judge of every one of us. We often fail to live up to them, but in His constant and unchanging love He offers us forgiveness of sins and His Holy Spirit to overcome our weaknesses and shortcomings and make us like Him.
Because we believe in Jesus Christ, we believe in His Church. It is His Church, subject to His marching orders, sent by Him to witness to His truth to all people everywhere. It is not ours to change when its teachings or ethical standards become unpopular, or to make it into a social club for “our kind of people.” It is neither a political party to prop up the existing order nor an organization devoted to bring about “social change.”
Because we believe in Jesus Christ, we believe in His Sacraments. We believe that in Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Absolution, Holy Unction, Holy Matrimony, and Holy Orders He really is present and acts for our salvation, and that we must meet Him in His Sacraments with faith and penitence.
Because we believe in Jesus Christ, we believe in the sacred Ministry He established. Bishops, Priests, and Deacons are His agents who must act on His instructions, first given to the Apostles. They must proclaim His Word, administer His Sacraments, and on His behalf minister to His people. Their role is not to be social workers, political agitators, or amateur psychologists. We gratefully receive and continue without change the Biblical ministry of Bishops and Priests which we have from our Lord Himself. We are not free to “redo,” “improve,” or “revise” what He left us. He, the eternal truth, knows better than any of us.
We do not set up ourselves as being better or more perfect than other people. We know that we are imperfect and sinful, and that our only hope is in trying to obey Jesus Christ as best we can, worship Him as He deserves and love Him as our Lord, Savior and undoubted King.
We do not wish to be another sect of Christians. On the contrary, we rejoice that so many believe what we believe and want to be as close to them as possible. We desire to be at one with them in the one Church of the one Christ, the Son of the living God, risen, ascended, and glorified.
Bishop Carmino de Catanzaro was consecrated the first “continuing” Anglican Bishop of Canada in 1980. A theologian of renown, Bishop de Catanzaro wrote the “doctrinal” section of The Affirmation of St Louis in 1977. For many years prior to his consecration he was the rector of St Barnabas Anglican Church in Ottawa. He died in 1983.
"Who is St Joseph's" is probably a better question.
We're Larry , the parish treasurer, head usher and New Braunfels' most prominent Democrat. We're Middy , a retired nurse who's always there to help anybody with anything...we’re Robert with his wry smile and Angie, his wife with her gentle smile, trying to corral their younger daughters in the pews and teach them how to pray...we're Jack sporting his American flag shirt with the NRA patch carrying the flag in procession on national days ...we're Mary Catherine making sure the priest does what he's supposed to and Toya whose goodness keeps the heart of our parish charities beating and we're Carole and Harry and Sylvia and Bill and Kay and all the others who kneel together at the Altar of God and receive the Blessed Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood, "that He may dwell in us, and we in Him."
St Joseph's Church isn’t merely a building. We’re Christ's people at this building, just as Christ’s people exist in thousands of other churches in thousands other places. Here, like there, we come together to pray and support each other; we eat and drink and laugh and sometimes we cry. We’re learning how to love God by learning how to love each other. And what has come out of all of this is a people who are friendly and open, inviting and loving and, speaking as a priest who’s old enough to appreciate it – just plain sweet – the kinda folks I’m delighted to share my life with and to go with, Sunday after Sunday, to the Altar of God. - Fr Gregory Lee Wilcox
Archbishop Fisher on Anglican Doctrine
“Anglicanism has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in Holy Scripture and the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ’s Church from the beginning.” – The Most Rev Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1952
This Week's Liturgy at St Joseph's
On Sundays and Holy Days, Morning Prayer will be read at 9.00 AM, the Holy Eucharist offered at 9.30, and Evening Prayer will be read at 1.00 PM.
Sunday, January 17: the Second Sunday after Epiphany
9.00 AM - Morning Prayer; 9.30 AM - Sung Mass
NOTA BENE: Beginning this week and continuing until Wednesday, February 10, we will have NO WEEKDAY SERVICES at St Joseph’s and our parish offices will be closed. Tanya Wilcox will have major surgery on Tuesday, January 19 and be hospitalized from 3-7 days after, to be followed by two weeks of at-home therapy during which she will not be able to drive. I’ll be at home during the whole of this time, caring or her or reading (not necessarily in that order). I am grateful to Deacon Lee, who will be bringing me to Sunday services each of these weeks, so THERE WILL BE NO CHANGE IN OUR SUNDAY SCHEDULE. Please remember Tanya in our prayers. Her doctor told me she’ll be in considerable pain during the weeks of her recuperation.
This Friday is a Day of Abstinence
The Athanasian Creed
The Athanasian Creed (also known as the Quicunque Vult- the first two words of the Latin text) is named after St Athanasius, the famous Archbishop of Alexandria (AD 296-373) who led the defense of orthodox Christianity against the heresy of Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ. There is no evidence that Athanasius wrote the creed and since the 17th Century it has been accepted that the evidence points against his authorship. The Creed was originally written Latin whereas St Athanasius wrote in Greek. In addition, some of the theological issues addressed in the Creed came to the fore only after the time of Athanasius - for example, Nestorianism and Eutychianism, both heresies which concern the humanity of Christ. The first written evidence for the Creed appears in a sermon of St Caeserius of Arles (AD 470-542) and in a relatively recently discovered manuscript of St Vincent of Lérins (AD 383-445), prompting the theory that it was composed in Southern Gaul (modern-day France). There is also strong evidence that it was originally composed for liturgical use as a hymn or chant.
The Creed contains a clear and detailed statement of the Trinity (eg. “The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; and yet there are not three Gods but one God”). It also upholds the full Deity and humanity of Christ, in terminology obviously drawn from the early fifth century, emphasizing His work “for us men and for our salvation”: His death for our sins, Resurrection on the third day, His bodily Ascension, and Second Coming at the final judgment. The Athanasian Creed puts forward the two principal dogmas of the Catholic Religion, the Trinity and the Incarnation, as necessary for salvation.
Most editions of the Book of Common Prayer, with the exception of the American Book, require that it be read on nineteen designated feasts or holy days throughout the year. Many Anglican Churches in America, as we do at St Joseph’s, recite the Athanasian Creed on Trinity Sunday.
by the Rev Canon Gregory Lee Wilcox
“What’s the difference between your Church and the Catholic Church? Are you Catholics or Protestants?"
In our everyday speech here in America, when most of us say the word “Catholic," we mean by it Roman Catholic . The use is more sociological than religious; it comes from a time when we used to divide people up into categories such as Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. A little investigation reveals to us, though, that the word “Catholic" is much more than a sociological term. It comes from two Greek words: kath holon, which means “according to the whole." In other words, Catholic means “complete" or “full." The Catholic Faith, then, is the whole Faith, undiminished, unaltered, undiluted. The Catholic Church is the whole Church, teaching and practicing the whole Faith. In the Creeds of the ancient Church, she defines herself as One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.
Through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance more and more ecclesiastical power came to be centered in Rome; with the centralization of power, as often happens, abuses arose. While these abuses are often exaggerated, some were quite real and they provoked a crisis. People began to lose faith in the Church as an institution, and the result was the convulsion we know as the Reformation. The Reformers, men like Martin Luther and John Calvin, protested against abuses in the Church. Each of them soon developed a vision of his own of what the Church should be, and soon the Reformers could find little unity among themselves except that they disagreed with the Church in Rome. Individually they came to be called after their founders, Lutherans, or Calvinists, or after their more particular doctrines, Anabaptists, Adventists and so on. Collectively they came to be called Protestants, that is, those protesting against Rome.
The Reformation affected all Europe in the 16th century, and England was no exception. King Henry VIII, a lecherous and ambitious man, severed the ties that bound the Church of England to Rome. But for all his self-centeredness, Henry was a conservative. He didn’t like unnecessary change. As a result, aside from breaking the connections between the English Church and the Roman Church, he insisted that the Faith and practice of the Church of England remain what it had been before. Henry got his way. He burned up those who disagreed with him, loyal Romans on the one side, dedicated Protestants on the other.
Not long after King Henry died and went to whatever awaits him eternally, his daughter Elizabeth succeeded to the English throne. Under Elizabeth, the Church of England understood itself as both Catholic and Protestant: Catholic in holding the fullness of the ancient Faith, Protestant in rejecting the abuses and growing power (worldly and religious) of the Renaissance Popes. Elizabeth referred to the religion of the English Church as “Reformed Catholicism."
As we’ve seen, the main notion “Protestants" have in common is their rejection of Roman Catholicism. This is hardly a good way to define anything; it’s like a farmer giving his vocation as “not a banker." Anglicans don’t refer to themselves as Protestants because our understanding of Catholicism is not sociological but religious.
Anglicans hold the Holy Bible, the unbroken succession of Bishops from the Apostles till now (called Apostolic Succession), the Sacraments, and the Creeds as essential signs of the Catholic Faith. We disagree with our Roman Catholic friends who are supposed to believe, according to the official teaching of the Roman Church, that “it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff,” but we are glad to share with them the essentials of the Catholic Faith. We differ with our Protestant friends in that we believe Jesus Himself founded the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, with its Scriptures,
Sacraments, Creeds and Succession as essential to the salvation of mankind. The Church is not a human institution. We didn’t make it. Jesus Christ Himself founded it and we believe His Holy Spirit lives within it. As it belongs to Him, we are not free to change it in any essential way. We receive it as a precious gift and as such, God willing, we pass it on to others. For this reason Tradition (which comes from the Latin word meaning “to hand over") is very important to us. The Holy Spirit works through the Church’s Tradition to ensure that the Faith is passed on it all its power, the power to make men and women fresh and new and alive in Christ. We want to be sure we hand on that same Faith to those who come after us in all its fullness, all its Catholicity.
The Creed teaches us the Lord Jesus founded One Church. That Church is not the Anglican Church or the Roman Catholic Church or any of the Protestant bodies coming out of the Reformation. The Creed teaches us that the Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church. The Book of Common Prayer (echoing Scripture and Tradition) teaches us that the Church is “the Body of which Jesus Christ is the Head, and all baptized people are members." Sadly these baptized people have fragmented themselves into all sorts of groups with all sorts of names. But, thank God, we cannot destroy what God has created. The Church is one, as our Lord Himself said, because God is One. We must continue to pray that the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost will hasten the day that the visible unity of His Church will be restored: the day there will be no more Protestants, or Roman Catholics, or Anglicans, but only Catholics united in unbreakable bonds of faith and charity.
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