Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sacrament of Confirmation To Go Practically Extinct In The Episcopal Church ?

UPDATE-  Fr Michael Earthman ‏@mgearthmans alleviates some of my concerns slightly regarding the Holy Order question. I still think Fr its a rather bad idea

I  realize that when looking at   Article XXV of the articles of Religion on the Sacraments that is in the front of every Episcopal Church Book of Common prayer  things get a tad hazy beyond Baptism and Eucharist.

I am certainly no expert on Anglican or Episcopal Church Sacramental theology here.

However I am not detecting conversations like these exactly occurring in the TEC as they do in the Catholic Church.

However in my neck of the woods , at least it appears  to me, that Confirmation was always a big deal in this TEC Diocese. . In fact looking at the current Canons of the TEC Church CURRENTLY it appears to be at least as to leadership roles to some extent. That very well might change.

Not Another Episcopal Church Blog has a post on some possible radical  proposed changes  at Nails in Confirmation's Coffin Lid .

Basically it appears it is proposed  that a requirement of Confirmation for Lay people in leadership roles from the local level  to the most important positions in the Episcopal Church do not have to be CONFIRMED!!

In fact as you read they want to look at if EVEN PRIESTS OR DEACONS should have be to be Confirmed.

Now validity of Anglican orders is always a touchy business as it is when the discussion up between Catholic and Anglicans of various stripes. Even with Anglican Priests that become Catholics it's a matter that has be handled with some needed sensitivity.

However!! I am pretty confident that if a Bishop ordained someone that was never Baptized it would not just be illicit BUT WOULD  BE INVALID. I think everyone would agree as to that on all sides ,or at least I hope. The blogger I link seems to think or perhaps imply that rabbit hole might be opened here too

The Catholic Teaching is :
1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the "sacraments of Christian initiation," whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.89 For "by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed."90

What about if Confirmation was just "skipped" . I have never thought to ask the question ( Can a Priest be ordained in the Catholic Church without being confirmed) because well I thought the answer was self evident like Baptism. It hard to imagine this issue has come up in fact. The Orthodox and Eastern Churches of course do Confirmation and Baptism together.

However both the Orthodox and Eastern Churches do see the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation as rather LINKED.

Now one does have to be a hard shell unfeeling  Papist  not to at least understand some Anglican/ Episcopal angst when Rome did not exactly put them in the "Church " Crowd  The issue of course revolves around Eucharist and Apostolic Succession. See NOTE ON THE EXPRESSION SISTER CHURCHES.

12. Finally, it must also be borne in mind that the expression sister Churches in the proper sense, as attested by the common Tradition of East and West, may only be used for those ecclesial communities that have preserved a valid Episcopate and Eucharist..

and in 2007



Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of “Church” with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?

According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery[19] cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense[20].

Now some Anglican communities did not like that all. In fact when Anglican Priests cross the TIBER many Anglicans are quick to note to them " YOU KNOW THEY NEVER THOUGHT YOUR ORDERS WERE VALID ANYWAY".

Now this is not to reopen the debate on the validity of Anglican orders. BUT WHY OH WHY make a situation worse by adding a new wrinkle. I submit perhaps in reality some don't care.

Maybe I am missing something here , but this seems a rather bad idea. Especially if one takes serious that one is an Apostolic Church.


SJ Reidhead said...

I can't imagine this one. Unless something has changed, fairly recently, confirmation is a very very big deal within the ECUSA. I'm not sure about the breakaway "Anglican" churches here, but do take care - they are, many of them, under the auspices of several diocese in Africa which are now NOT considered part of the Anglican Communion.

The only reason confirmation would not be an issue is if someone were "received" - having been confirmed in the Catholic, Greek and a couple other denominations.

Going back and reading everything, well, I don't trust anything that comes out of the Anglicans of SC. Going back and reading the post - well, the only word I can use is "crap". We have a very real problem within the Anglican movement. I know it sounds all sweetness and light, but it isn't. I don't even think the Anglican movement and the diocese in South Carolina are recognized as part of the Anglican Communion - and the ECUSA very much is. There's a problem with some of the sponsoring diocese in Africa - and a little bit of heresy. They're been kicked out of the Anglican Communion at a fairly regular rate now.

What I do know is that there are times when a church needs to send someone to a conference, etc. and may need to do something quick and dirty. This is not about LEMs - Lay Eucharistic Ministers.

The term "communicant" signifies anyone who is a part of a parish but has not moved their membership. To be a "communicate" you must take communion there at least three times, within a certain time frame. In order to take communion you must be baptized.

Heck, I know of one little Episcopal church that uses "communicants" all the time. That's all they have. There is noting evil or even circumventing the confirmation process. Confirmation gives you full membership within the church. Truth of the matter, if you don't attend regularly and don't keep up your pledges you can be denied anything but "communicant" status, even in your home parish.

This is much ado about absolutely nothing.To me, it is just another example of far right troublemaking by people who don't have enough to do. Seriously, these people have tried to start a very uncivil war in the church. Right now it appears as though they may be losing the war.

The Pink Flamingo

James H said...

I am still concerned that it aprpars "confirmed" appears to be stricken.

I did not talk to some Episcopals on this and they said they find it highly unlikley that such a resloution would would pass so that is good.