Skip to comments.Another One Takes the Plunge [swims the Tiber]
Posted on 06/02/2006 8:06:21 PM PDT by sionnsar
Well, it has happened again--for the second time in three months. Another faithful priest has left the Episcopal diocese of Fort Worth and "swam the Tiber." Father Taylor Marshall, the author of the Canterbury Tales blog as "Father Pereginator", has renounced his orders in the Episcopal diocese of Fort Worth and was received into the Roman Catholic Church a couple of weeks ago. His "brief apologia" may be found here.
I most certainly wish Mr. Marshall and his family well on this next stage in their spiritual journey. May God bless them richly.
I suppose it will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I do not find Marshall's apologia to be terribly persuasive. It is essentially the same problem I had with Jeff Moore's statements of earlier this year. This is what Marshall says about the key issue, in my mind:
I don't need to make any fancy argument for the authority of Rome. It is simply that Christ instituted St Peter to bind and loose on earth (the earth denoting universal jurisdiction) and that this office is protected by the Holy Spirit so that the Church will never be led into error in the realm of Faith and Morals. The buck stops with Peter and with his successors in Rome - all the way up to the present Pope, His Holiness Benedict XVI. This charism for truth is not based on the moral superiority of the popes or their intellectual astuteness. It is based in the power of the Holy Spirit fulfilling the promise of Christ.
There is pretty much no statement in this paragraph that I do not take at least some exception with, based upon my rather extensive study of Scripture and the Fathers of the Church on this question. Where does Father P get the conclusion that the office of St. Peter is "protected by the Holy spirit so that the Church will never be led into error in the realms of Faith and Morals"? He seems to take it as self-evident, but I have serious questions as to whether St. Peter himself was protected from such error, based upon Gal 2:11-14 (which is infallible Holy Scripture, as I am sure Fr P would agree). And if Peter himself could err, then I can see no reason to believe that his successors in Rome alone (as opposed to Antioch, for example, which also can trace its ancient lineage of bishops back to the era of Petrine evangelism) would be so protected.
Fr P's claim to universal jurisdiction and the protection of infallibility for the bishops of Rome is further complicated by the fact that there is no surviving evidence that the first several centuries of Roman bishops claimed such rights and abilities over the entire Church. And when they did get around to it, the earliest claims to a special Roman primacy typically relied upon their status as guardians of the relics of SS Peter and Paul and the impeccably consistent orthodoxy of their doctrine rather than what became the classic "proof text" inscribed around the base of the dome of St. Peter's. And while the ancient councils of the universal Church unquestionably recognized the primacy of honor of Rome, I am unaware that the Eastern primates ever recognized either the universal jurisdiction or infallibility of their brother in Rome. In short, the opinions of the ancient bishops of Rome were deeply respected by the Greek-speaking Church (as the Tome of Leo's reception at Chalcedon indicates), but the Roman popes had no special authority over Alexandria, Antioch or Constantinople--and never have. The logic of Fr P's argument seems to indicate that the entire Eastern Church failed to understand the Lord's clear instructions for the monarchial government of the Church, thereby disregarding the protecting hand of the Holy Spirit over the unique Petrine office by never submitting to jurisdiction of the bishops of Rome. So despite the protection of the Holy Spirit, the unity of Christ's Church on earth was fatally compromised before Constantine even proclaimed toleration for the Church! Pardon me if I am a bit skeptical.
Like Fr P, I believe the Holy Spirit protects the Church. The decrees of ecumenical councils (i.e., the seven that all of the Patriarchal sees have participated in and are recognized by Chalcedonian Christians in both East and West) are, I believe, infallible. But I am unconvinced that this infallibility abides solely in the Roman Pontiff and in councils he alone has convened (if he chooses to call a council rather than acting on his own to declare a dogma). This doctrine is, I presently believe, a medieval development that took place solely in the Latin-speaking West. It has only been endorsed by councils of those bishops that remained in communion with Rome after the Great Schism and did not separate from it in the sixteenth century (e.g., Vatican I). And since IMO Roman jurisdictional primacy and infallibility is a medieval development that was unknown to the ancient Church, I would need to be convinced (a la Newman) that doctrine develops over time in ways that might not have been at all clear to the ancients themselves, even if these later developments were somehow always there in nuce (rather like the buried ancient acorn that becomes the mighty oak of modern Roman dogma).
Again, I eagerly await an informed reflection from my friends who are former Anglicans on these points. For me to be convinced, I will need a thoughtful dialogue on Roman primacy of jurisdiction and infallibility based upon historical evidence and/or clear rational argument, and not merely the "Jesus said it; I believe it; that settles it" approach one sometimes encounters. I promise to listen carefully.
My sincere best wishes to Fr P and his family, and to all of my many Roman Catholic friends. As I hope you know, I agree with you as to 98% of the content of the deposit of Faith. And I deeply long for the day, I hope not too far off, when we will be reunited in one visible Body. There are encouraging signs of Roman/Orthodox rapprochement, and I suspect that any agreement that the leaders of the Eastern Orthodox Churches could reach with the Roman Pontiff on these contested issues is probably one I could endorse as well. Pope Benedict seems to be just the man to accomplish this reconciliation. May God bless him in his crucial ministry. Let us pray for the happy day when we all will be one, even as Christ and the Father are one.
The Holy Father is infallible only in certain limited circumstances . . . when making an official pronouncement ex cathedra. I believe it's only been done twice in this century.
That's quite different from Christ's promise that Peter is the rock on which He will build His church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
This writer is conflating two different issues and thus is attacking something that doesn't exist.
He's also dead wrong about the evidence from the "first several centuries" of the early Church of the primacy of Rome and its authority over the entire Church. Multiple letters survive from many bishops (I recall one from St. Irenaeus) acknowledging the primacy of the successor of Peter.
You know, the Tiber does have bridges. Doesn't anyone just walk?
Today's Gospel tells us in John's words of Peter's primacy!
The writer says he agrees with "98% of the content of the deposit of the faith that is held by Roman Catholicism. In other words, there is only 2% of Roman Catholic doctrine he disagrees with. Since he choses to remain in the ECUSA, he must have a 99 100% level of agreement with the current policies and theology of ECUSA. Given what he says elsewhere on his blog, that is hard to believe.
Per the lack of evidence of Roman Petrine authority in the Ancient Church, I'd cite St. Irenaues of Lyons (although there are others, he is the most clear).
From, "Against the Heresies III, Preface - 4.2
To enumerate the successions of all the churches woudl take up too much space in a volume of this kind. But in order to put to shame all those who in any way, either through self-conceit, or through vainglory, or through blind and evil opinion, gather as they should not, I need only cite of that very great, most ancient and universally known church founded and established at Rome by those two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul and draw attention to the tradition which that church has received from the apostles and to the faith it preaches which has come down to our time through the succession of bishops. For in view of the outstanding pre-eminence of this church, there cannot be any disagreement between it and every other church (that is, the faithful in every place) every church, that is, in which men in every place have at all times preserved the apostolic tradition.
The Sovereign Drug Arminianism
The "Sovereign drug, Arminianism," which said the Jesuit, "we (i.e. we Papists) have planted" in England, did indeed bid fair "to purge our Protestant Church effectually. How merrily Popery and Arminianism, at that time, danced hand in hand, may be learned from Tindal: "The churches were adorned with paintings, images, altar-pieces, & etc. and, instead of communion tables, alters were set up, and bowings to them and the sacramental elements enjoined. The predestinarian doctrines were forbid, not only to be preached, but to be printed; and the Arminian sense of the Articles was encouraged and propagated."10 The Jesuit, therefore, did not exult without cause. The "sovereign drug," so lately "planted," did indeed take deep root downward, and bring forth fruit upward, under the cherishing auspices of Charles and Laud. Heylyn, too, acknowledges, that the state of things was truly described by another Jesuit of that age, who wrote: "Protestantism waxeth weary of itself. The doctrine (by the Arminians, who then sat at the helm) is altered in many things, for which their progenitors forsook the Church of Rome: as limbus patrum; prayer for the dead, and possibility of keeping God's com- mandments; and the accounting of Calvinism to be heresy at least, if not treason."11
There is no differance beteen a arminian and catolic other than one is dressed to look like a protestant.
I am by no means saying this to in any way bash our orthodox catholic brethren who embrace the great truths of church fathers like st.augustine.
Orthodox Catholicism embraces the doctrines of grace more than pale luke warm Protestantism.
I would much rather a believer to be under the teaching direction of the current administration in rome the the apostasy of warren,olsteen and their ilk.
p.s. before you post a response visit my profile page:
The source of Irenaeus' instruction is also interesting:
St. Irenaeus was bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is now Lyons, France. He was a disciple of Polycarp, who himself was a disciple of John the Evangelist. He is recognized as a saint by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology. His most famous work is Against Heresies, a lengthy description and refutation of Gnosticism.
In his letter to Florinus (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., 5.20.5), Irenaeus speaks of having seen Polycarp at Smyrna in the emperor's train when he himself was still but a boy. The date of the death of Polycarp is now practically settled for 155. For various reasons, this emperor must have been Hadrian, who visited Asia Minor in 123 and 129, in the latter of which years the meeting must have taken place. All that Irenaeus tells of his recollections of Polycarp at this period shows that he must have been at least 12 or 15, and thus was probably born about 115. He implies distinctly that his intercourse with and instruction by Polycarp lasted for a number of years, very likely from about 129 to 150; and the same conclusion follows from what he tells of the teaching received in Asia Minor from certain disciples of the apostles.
There are two further passages (4.27.1-32 and 5.33.3-4) which can be understood only as asserting that he had this oral instruction from more than one of such disciples and when he was of an age to take it in and be deeply impressed by it.
Well, thank you! That was exactly the letter I was thinking of ("those two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul") but it would have taken me hours to find it!
Must be a reference to the waters of baptism. OR else the old Anglicans making things difficult for themselves on purpose . . . the term is specifically British (and specifically Anglican) and dates back to the time of the Oxford Movement.
Calvin sez: "Why walk when there is a bus?"
Not necessarily. ECUSA is not homogenous -- and Randall Foster is located in one of the (about) three, um, "orthodox" diocese left.
thankyou,toplady is the author of the article.
Do you really think a Jeusit said that? Sounds awfully "Fake but accurate" to me.
I read your link, but that story isn't very convincing at all. It sounds even more "Fake but Accurate" now. Do you think that would hold up in court? Someone finds a "letter" mailed from an un-named "Jesuit" that says Arminianism is a plot from the Jesuits?
Really that doesn't make any sense at all. Arminius was a very anti-Catholic Dutch Protestant. Isn't it a lot more likely that Arminius had his own ideas? And why would the Jesuits try to win people for anti-Catholic Arminius?
Unless there is a lot more evidence of this "letter" and the "Jesuit" who wrote it, I have to put this story in with all that crazy Jack Chick Jesuit conspiracy nonsense.
Have a nice Pentecost Sunday.
It seems to me that if he cannot accept Rome, that he should go to the Orthodox Churches, since he seems to have more in common with them than with the ECUSA--that is, if he cannot find some way of organizing an Anglican Church in the United States apart from the ECUSA.
John Wesley was also Arminian but anti-Catholic.
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