Athanasius contra Ecclesiam Anglicanae

When still an earnest Calvinist I saw the Anglican church as the proper heir of Swiss Reformed thought, or even Calvinism, for that matter. It was largely the accident of Knox having published in Geneva his First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women without Calvin’s consent or knowledge  – – or so Calvin claimed in a letter to Elizabeth’s secretary, William Cecil – -that had put Geneva on the outs with Elizabeth. Consequently, not Geneva, but Zurich became the primary court of appeal for the English Protestants in the first decades of Elizabeth’s reign, and the Zurichers were certainly not the Genevan junior varsity (though some Presbyterians still think so). But despite Knox’s indiscretion, Geneva never was destined to play much of an official role in English affairs, though unofficially its influence was vast. Zurich on the other hand, whose sensibilities were far more in keeping with the English affections to begin with (state run churches), assumed a near normative role. While vestments remained a thorn of contention among the English, Zurich considered such matters adiaphora, and saw the English church as possessed with the prerogative to impose them. One of Zurich’s leading theologians in the first years of Elizabeth’s reign, Peter Martyr Vermigli- – a Florentine by birth – – had actually argued, during Edward’s reign (he had been at Oxford then), with the precise Richard Hooper, bishop of Gloucester, for the decorous nature of vestments.

This affinity with Zurich the episcopal bench of Elizabeth’s Church embraced, and largely this is how Elizabeth wanted it. Had she desired a church with a medieval Theology, the church of her father, she could have had one. There were all sorts of temporizers who had existed under both Edward and Mary who could have drifted with that tide had she so desired, but she didn’t. She liked order, vestments, and herself the chief magistrate as governor of the Church of England. All those Protestant emigres were happy with this arrangement too, even the more precisian among them such as Laurence Humphrey, president of Magdalen College and Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford; and Thomas Sampson, dean of Christ Church. In keeping with their Zurich compeers, the first English bench was thoroughly predestinarian and acutely Zurichified in its Eucharistic thought, the one exception being Richard Cheyney of Gloucester, who had conformed under Mary, but was as thoroughly unpredestinarian as the rest of the bench was predestinarian, confessing that he preferred Erasmus to Luther on the question of freewill.

Cheyney also was clearly a conservative on questions about the Eucharist, not holding to Transubstantiation, though definitely to some form of remanence, he never assented to the 28th and 29th articles of religion. {28. 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 worshiped. 29. Of the Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord’s Supper. The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing.} Edmund Guest tried to convince Cheyney that he in good conscience could assent to the articles, but to no real avail. Jewel in a letter to Bullinger called Cheyney a Lutheran about the Eucharist, but we have no other evidence of this. In 1571, however, Cheyney left convocation without subscribing to the 39 Articles, and Matthew Parker excommunicated him. Cheyney’s own court communicated to Parker that he left because of illness, and the sentence was lifted. Ironically, to the best of our knowledge, Cheyney never did subscribe. Indeed, the future Jesuit priest and martyr Edmund Champion, whom Cheyney had ordained a deacon, wrote to Cheyney in 1572 urging Cheyney to leave England and the church he despised and return to the old faith.

Edmund Guest, who tried to palliate Cheyney on the strictures of Articles 28 and 29, has also been cited as someone holding to consubstantiation. He was eventually later elevated to a bishopric, first to Rochester and then to Salisbury following Jewel’s death. And while not an ‘anti-Calvinist’, he did embrace a strange form of ubiquitarianism as regards the presence of Christ in the Eucharistic elements, though this was no different, Guest asserted, than Christ’s presence in the rite of baptism. Guest also asserted that no sacrifice propitious for the living or the dead accompanied the Eucharist, and he also denounced the use of vestments in a letter to William Cecil in 1559. In his 1548 treatise Against the Privie Mass, Guest wrote that “the minister both consecrateth and maketh, though not Christ’s Body, yet the hallowed bread and wine, the sacraments exhibitive of the same.” Thus he could not have been more equivocal when he wrote that “Christ both God and Man with His Father and the Holy Ghost is present at the Baptism of faithful infants. When they become embodied and incorporate thereto it is to wete {probably, to wit} when they eat His Body and drink His Blood as really as we do at His Supper.” Ironically, Guest’s manner of linking the presence Christ’s body and blood with the Eucharist to the way He is present at Baptism, is the same method that Jewel used to argue that there was no corporal presence of Christ in the Eucharist. For Guest, though he told Cecil that some may have problems with articles 28 and 29, he nonetheless subscribed to both.

From these two, Cheyney and Guest, some Anglo-Catholics draw great solace, as though they represented a continuity with the English church’s medieval past. This is akin to such musings as that of the Baptist Carroll who saw the Albigensians as part of the apostolic succession of the ‘trail of blood’ which tied all Baptists back to Pentecost. Yet Cheyney held his ‘Anglicanism’ rather uneasily, either slighting the 39 Articles, or else dissembling about them. Guest was simply another Zurich-influenced English Protestant, who attempted to use words to bend doctrine to his rhetorical purposes.

What their presence in 1559 along with their more thoroughly Protestant fellow clerics really does is give the truth to an insight of Frederick Joseph Kinsman (1868-1944), Episcopal Bishop of Delaware, 1908 to 1919, and before that instructor in Church History at Berkeley Divinity School and then General Seminary. Kinsman resigned as Episcopal bishop of Delaware in 1919 and promptly converted to Roman Catholicism (a tale recounted in his Salve Mater). Kinsman’s 1936 Reveries of a Hermit, has, as Bill Tighe puts it, “a fascinating and suggestive chapter on Anglicanism.” Therein Kinsman reflects on the nature of Anglicanism and produced a simple index of what it was, its genesis and goal: the Anglo-Catholics had a plausible case to be the true Anglicans, but not nearly as good as that of the Evangelicals. But those two paled in comparison to the Latitudinarian or Liberal claims. The taxonomy itself contains the truth: the two outliers asserted absolute claims, whereas the party that asserted comprehension of all outliers at once was in fact the dominant notion from the beginning. As Kinsman put it in Salve Mater, “Like many others, I attached Highest importance to the doctrines of Baptismal Regeneration, the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, of the sacramental character of Confirmation and Penance. All these doctrines the Church tolerates; but so long as equal toleration is given to others of a different or even neutralizing sort, this is not definitely to teach them. To tolerate everything is to teach nothing.” Kinsman in Reveries cites the Gorham case from the middle of the nineteenth century, when it was ruled that the bishop of Exeter could not deny ordination to the low Churchman Gorham, who denied baptismal regeneration, since it was clearly the case that the Church of England embraced both.

The Zurich and Reformed professions of Elizabeth’s bench were in many ways accidental: she wanted nothing to do with Rome, and little to do with Geneva. She could have had temporizers like Andrew Perne, but opted instead for the Erastians of Zurich, who were happy to “of a necessity a virtue make.” And these men themselves, first in the Apologie of the Church of England, and then in its several defenses penned by Jewel, Cooper, Nowells, Horne, Pilkington, inter alios, (the Archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Parker, ordered Jewel’s labors to be obtained by all parishes) essentially argued for the nonexistence of the Catholic, and even the catholic, Church. Jewel and Elizabeth’s first bench argued might and main that the Catholic faith (and here they meant Roman faith) did not so much as not exist in the early Church, as could not find itself whole and intact therein. Jewel’s Challenge Sermon voiced some real points of contention between Rome and Protestantism, but a good many of the challenges had to do with high and late medieval explications of Catholic doctrine. Beyond that, the sermon was cast in the negative: certain such-and-such matters did not exist in the first six hundred years of the Christian era, ergo, there was no Catholic Church. And while happy to quote the Fathers on all sorts of points, and even used them to bolster their own assertions at times, the divines of Elizabeth’s church were cagey in how they asserted that there was such a thing as the ancient Church. Jewel and every other English polemicist, including Cranmer and Hooker, were party to this principle: sola scriptura rendered null the necessity of a catholic Church. Had the early Church spoken with unanimity of certain subjects (let us say the necessity of an episcopal order), then how could this not be binding on the entire Church? But the early Church did speak univocally on this point, yet it mattered not to the English Reformers, because no Church or jurisdiction, living or dead, had authority within England. Thus the canon of truth asserted by St. Vincent of Lerins (that believed by all men, everywhere and at all times) quixotically morphed into two testaments, three creeds, four councils, et cetera; or, Scripture, Tradition, Reason. The Church of England had created its own canon for the determination of what was and wasn’t doctrinally acceptable.

In fact, the real order for these men was nothing like the universal Church. How could it be when the oath of Supremacy forbade them from granting any foreign bishop any sort of authority in England? And this was not merely a matter of temporal authority, but of spiritual as well. At the Westminster Disputation of 1559 the establishment had argued that the Church of England could unilaterally alter the decisions of the universal Church without the benefit of a general council (so there go the first four councils). Thus, England and its church cut itself off from the wider communion of Christianity. What later attempts would be made to link England with its medieval past by the Tractarians foundered on this very point. All the posturing that so many Protestants had done about the Pope of Rome being a unilateral judge and canon to himself was actually the case of the English Church. The initial Tractarians looked at Jewel’s use of the past rather happily and uncritically: one of them, Jelf, even published his available collected works. The Parker Society, however, rightly saw him and all the other English divines up through Elizabeth’s reign differently, and made him the first object of their publication enterprise, an enterprise aimed at confuting the Oxford Movement. The doctrinal content of the 1562 Apologie, issued on behalf and in the name of the Church of England, and generally credited to Jewel, is sparse of doctrine, and what it has it clearly owes to Zurich, and that in abeyance of what the ancient Church taught. Once an Anglo-Catholic cleric told me that Anglicanism had no doctrine of its own, but that its real doctrine was medieval in form. Well, to Elizabeth’s church, it clearly was Zuricher in form.

One simple illustration with wider application is called for. In Chapter II of the Apologie, after asserting that the faithful partake of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, the text explains what is meant: that the worthy faithful partake of the grace given by Christ’s body and blood, but that they do not partake of the body and blood itself in any corporal way. Further, there is no alteration, changing, or, to be exact, transubstantiation of the elements. As they existed prior to consecration, so they exist afterwards. The Apologie calls on St. Ambrose to make his point, citing De sacramentis (IV.iv.15), that “Bread and wine remain still the same they were before and yet are changed into another thing” (Si ergo tanta ius est in sermone Domini Jesu, ut inciperent esse quae non erant, quanto magis operatorius est, ut sint quae erant, et in aliud commutentur?). Now, I know that all of you classicists and venerable Latin rite monastics will point out that the Apologie has both manipulated and mistranslated the text (inserting words into the text that aren’t there, and twisting those that are), and that those of you familiar with St. Ambrose’s work On the Sacraments, and also his On the Mysteries will be objecting as well that clearly our Father among the saints, St. Ambrose did teach that the elements were changed (both texts are short and good translations are available online). However true this is, it is all really beside the point. The author doesn’t care, for his ability to misquote, mistranslate (both the Latin and the Greek), and obfuscate texts would embarrass even the most surreal caricature of Jesuit casuistry. The point here, however, is not about doctrine, but something else, neither the verity nor falsity of what St. Ambrose taught. The whole point in arguing about St. Ambrose is moot (“This is supposed to be a happy occasion, so lets not bicker and argue about who killed who!”).

Why? Because the Apologie only admits of one normative text (Holy Scripture), and one normative prism through which to read it, namely its Zwinglian Eucharistic doctrine, premised itself on Protestant humanism (going back to Zwingli and Oecoplampadius) that privileged faith as an act of intellect, naked before the bare text of scripture. This is at the heart of Zwingli’s arguments at Marburg with Luther. Jewel, and most of the English Reformers, spare little time for treating justification sola fide, but it is the one underlying assumption about their Eucharistic doctrines. Bread and wine are only accidental in regard to the believer’s reception of Christ (Jewel, Cranmer, Martyr, Bullinger, all repeatedly quoted St. Augustine that “believe, and you have already eaten”).

As regards the Ambrosian texts in question, Jewel in his Defense of the Apologie demonstrated a truly impressive rhetorical dexterity in constructing the normative hermeneutics for his Eucharistic thought: e.g., importing Chrysostom’s comments on the episode about David in II Samuel 23, where David’s three mighty men go and get him water from the well in Bethlehem at the risk of their lives. David promptly poured it out, for, as St. John says (this is in his Homilies on the Psalms) “it was not water, but blood.” Well, can we guess where Jewel is going? He takes St. John Chrysostom’s metonymy in this particular place and makes it theologically normative in fixing the understanding of the Eucharist by the Fathers, and how Christ’s body and blood are present in and with the elements. This theology was not his own, of course: ascribing metonymic qualities to “hoc est corupus meum” had precedent in his Zurich mentors Bullinger and Martyr, and in fact, was used by Calvin also (Dico metonymicum esse hunc sermonem, qui usitatus est passim in scriptura, ubi de mysteriis agitur. Institutes IV.xvii.21. It should be noted that Calvin does not use the word in any editions prior to 1559, and it may well be an element of his capitulation to Zurich on the matter of the Eucharist, a surrender springing from his epistolary debates with Bullinger begun in 1547, and consummated with the Consensus of Zurich in 1549).

But it is not mere word games that Jewel and the rest of the English Reformers were playing, but instead a reinterpretation of the very word catholic. Catholic is now subsumed under the broader heads of Protestant doctrine, the doctrines which now became the new regula fidei by which all of theology is constructed. This is what makes ripping Chrysostom out of context such an easy thing. It had begun in Leipzig in 1519 when Eck backed Luther into a corner about prayers for the dead, that they would be superfluous were Luther’s theology of justification by faith alone true. Luther, seemingly an ad hoc theologian were there ever one, rose to the bait and denounced prayers for the departed. Eck then set the hook: what do you do with Maccabees? Luther responded that he did not hold Maccabees as scripture. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time this slighting of Maccabees had occurred to Luther, but instructive even if not. His new doctrine had become the regula fidei, the new standard of what was “believed by all men, everywhere and at all times.” It was the new Catholicism. This is still done today: apologists from Presbyterianism to Anglicanism claim that they are the catholics, whereas the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic are not. First, they have a nice 500 year pedigree to rest on, and besides, if St. Thomas Aquinas were alive today (according to R. C. Sproul), he would not attend a Catholic Church. Ironically, Martin Bucer, the Strasbourg Reformer who died at Cambridge during the reign of Edward VI, claimed that could he be rid of Aquinas, he could overthrow the whole Romanist system. Some of the modern Reformed rest on such ideas as were voiced in Philip Schaff’s The Principle of Protestantism, that the Reformers were the rightful heirs of the medieval church, and the true preservers of patristic piety. For the Anglicans, of course, it is all sorts of other items, and this brings me back to Jewel et al., and to Kinsman.

Anglicanism, possessing a Frankenstein theology and ecclesiology, was built on asserting the primacy of the local over the catholic, the temporal over the spiritual, and the captiously pedantic over the overtly catholic. Spawned in the double boiler of emergent nation-states and the Protestant Reformation, the Protestant Church of England existed at the behest of a monarch who sought legitimacy within the statute law of her realm, and at the expense of a church independent of her whims. Elizabeth, “unrivalled in the confection of studied ambiguities,” had professed herself a Catholic during Mary’s reign, only to throw her assertions over with the death of her sister. Her Protestant clerics absolved her, and became her chief defenders. Cranmer, the man who had paved the way for her own claim to the throne, became the new prism through which English dogmatic formulations were viewed. Thus, Articles 28 and 29, as seen by Cheyney as thoroughly Zwinglian, inverted the whole Augustinian notion of the primacy of grace (if grace precedes faith, why do we need faith to make the sacraments efficacious?). The sacraments in this regard (as seen in the penultimate sentence of Art. 28), are not the means of grace, but at best a means of a means, viz, faith is the means of grace. And so to Kinsman’s point: the Protestant Reformers of the Church of England had asserted a new paradigm by which truth was known. Not the Tradition of the Universal Church, reading Holy Scriptures within the community of Faith, but an assertion that such a community only ever ideally existed, and is imagined only within the “pure and unadulterated pages of scripture.”  In this regard, there is only a quantitative difference between Jewel, Horne, Parker, Cox, Guest, Grindal, Parkhurst and the rest of Elizabeth’s early bench, on the one hand, and Walter Bauer and Bart Ehrman on the other. The Reformers would not agree that ‘heresy’ preceded orthodoxy, nor would they consent to the idea that what Bauer and Ehrman think ‘orthodoxy’ is (Nicaean Chrisitianity) did not exist from the earliest times; but what they would assent to is that no institution as existed in the fourth century had any basis in the New Testament or the first century, and that uniformity is a chimera foisted upon the early church by the successors of Pope St. Gregory I. In short, there is no Catholic church, but only local churches, with their own sets of dogmas and liturgies, and that the whole idea of one Church with one liturgy, one creed, was a later imposition. There was no Christianity, but many Christianities. The multiplicity of liturgical forms became the basis for asserting their own liturgical forms, the reification, to quote Kinsman, of a “policy of permissive fancies.” Thus the notion that there were early churches, as opposed to the Church catholic, became the justification for the Church of England to throw off Rome. As regards Kinsman, Q.E.D.

From its birth in 1559, the Church of England trumpeted latitudinarianism in the early church as the basis for its existence, and now for the more catholic minded among them they all wonder why ‘Anglicanism’ has become, like mystery Babylon the great, the “hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”

There are many good, loyal, God loving people within Anglicanism, both those still looking to Canterbury, and those who have abandoned those in communion with ++Rowan Cantaur for putatively more pure forms. Ultimately, however, the anti-Catholic notions of 1559 will catch up to them. Why? Because allowing or accepting anything means holding to nothing. Kinsman can have the final word: “In the Episcopal Church, some of the most conspicuous examples of applied individualism in ministerial free-lances are to be found in ‘Catholic parishes.’ This is inevitable. Those who believe they possess the Catholic priesthood and the Catholic episcopate are bound, by conditions of the Episcopalian system, to act as priests-at-random and bishops-at-large . . . . Congregational methods seemed … a travesty on the true work of Bishops and Priests in the Church of God, to illustrate the effort to ‘raise an altar on one’s own centre of gravity’ and to be ‘a little Holy Catholic Church, all by one’s self.’ I could never view every minority of one as an Athanasius, or feel that the one criterion of Catholic truth was that it should be held by only one person! I was never one of those Anglo-Catholics who can think of themselves each as Athanasius contra – Ecclesiam. Ego contra: ergo Athanasius!”

Posted by Cyril

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14 Responses to Athanasius contra Ecclesiam Anglicanae

  1. [...] ‘continuing’ Anglicans have been going on recently, this is an interesting article – Athanasius contra Ecclesiam Anglicanae – by Gary Jenkins, author of Gary is the author of John Jewel and the English National Church: [...]

  2. anon says:

    Really fantastic article – absolutely necessary for those under the influence of the aggressively anti-Roman, anti-Orthodox continuum.

  3. William Tighe says:

    “At the Westminster Disputation of 1559 the establishment had argued that the Church of England could unilaterally alter the decisions of the universal Church without the benefit of a general council (so there go the first four councils).”

    Was this obvious at the time? After all, skeptics may retort, the Act of Uniformity of 1559 contains a clause to the effect that nothing in the future shall be judged to be heresy save what goes against the Scriptures of the first four general councils; or what Parliament shall hereafter enact to be taken for heresy. On the other hand, what Parliament giveth, Parliament can take away: add, say, three more councils, or take all four of them away. And indeed, with the abolition of the episcopal constitution itself of the Church of England in the period 1643-1660, or the parliamentary legislation of 1993 authorizing the pretended “ordination” of women (cf. the case of Williamson vs Regina of 1994 in which the High Court, dismissing the Rev’d Paul Williamson’s suit to prevent the ordination of priestesses on the basis that the practice went against the Queen’s coronation oath and the doctrine of the Church of England, declared that the “doctrine of the Church of England” was whatever Parliament declared it to be, and so the parliamentary statute authorizing WO had declared the doctrine of the Church of England on that question) — with these, we can see the accuracy of the statement excerpted above and, thus, of the analyses of both Kinsman and Jenkins.

  4. anonymus says:

    It’s “anglicanam” or “Angliae” , but not “anglicanae” .

  5. Cyril says:

    I need to give this a little thought, I think (nephew Billy, what say ye?). Though some dictionaries and lexicons may list the adjectival form Anglicanus, -a, -um, as the adj. Anglican, and thus Anglicanae should agree as an adjective with Ecclesiam (and thus be Anglicanam), this would skew the definition of the word toward “Anglican” (I have one lexicon that so treats it). But in the sixteenth century, Anglicanus meant both English or pertaining to England, and the translation of Anglicanae would simply be “of England”, e.g., Lady Ann Bacon’s translation of the Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae was Apology of the Church of England.

  6. I can’t follow your logic here.

    Whatever its meaning “anglicanus” is an adjective so must agree with the noun it describes, viz “ecclesiam”.

    It doesn’t make any difference whether you are saying “against the Anglican Church” or “against the English Church”: you have to say “contra Ecclesiam Anglicanam”.

    The fine distinction between “English Church”, “Church of England” and “Anglican Church” simply isn’t available in Latin, tho’ you could express the second by saying Ecclesia Angliae, and the third is anachronistic if you are translating from sixteenth-century Latin.

    “Contra Ecclesiam Anglicanae” if it means anything means “Against the Church of an Englishwoman” or “Against the Church of a female Anglican” (=Elizabeth I perhaps?!)

  7. William Tighe says:

    ‘“Contra Ecclesiam Anglicanae” if it means anything means “Against the Church of an Englishwoman” or “Against the Church of a female Anglican” (=Elizabeth I perhaps?!)’

    I am sure that Gary didn’t intend it so, but to entitle this article “Against the Church of an Englishwoman” — meaning both Elizabeth I, its founder, and Elizabeth II, its “Supreme Governor” — would be a splendid stroke of inspiration, not least in the light of Regina v Williamson (the case that the Rev’d Paul Stewart Williamson brought in 1994 to prevent the purported ordination of women in the Church of England).

  8. Cyril says:

    Well then, for need of precision we can change the title.

  9. I have heard Professor Duffy opine that the existence of Anglicanism as something distinct from continental protestantism, and the preservation of Catholic elements within it, was due (pace what Cyril says above) largely, if not entirely, to Elizabeth I ….

  10. [...] I am certain it is a mere coincidence, at Titus19, Kendall Harmon has linked to a blog post by a former Calvinist and former Anglo-Catholic, now (apparently) Roman Catholic, who advocates exactly the kind of old school “clear [...]

  11. Cyril says:

    TWJ, I am not at all denying any catholic elements in Anglicanism, and I agree with Eamon that these are largely there because of Elizabeth, and largely because of the length of her reign. By the time of her death, forty-four years after the settlement, and due both to James and Charles, even a revolution couldn’t eradicate them. I don’t know anyone who wants to assert that there aren’t catholic elements: this was the whole basis of the life of Puritanism. What I am saying is that these elements are not constitutive of what Anglicanism is. Holding catholic elements does not ipso facto make one a catholic. I am sure Arius or Theodore of Mopsuestia or Pelagius held more catholic elements than did most members of the C of E throughout her history, but this doesn’t make them catholic.

    Also, I think I have decided to opt for the notion of blind inspiration, as dictated by Tighe, and leave the title as is. I note your point, however, and thank you for it.

  12. I wasn’t disagreeing with you, Cyril (nor yet agreeing), just noting Duffy’s point for amusement.

    As your response implies, intention and consequences are not (necessarily) the same thing, tho’ often confused.

  13. Thomas says:

    Anglicanism: Prayer Book Unitarianism

  14. William Tighe says:

    Well, TWJ, if it weren’t for Elizabeth I, the Church of England might have ended up in an analogous position to that of the Hungarian Reformed Church, thoroughly “Reformed” in its worship practice, a medley of Genevan and Zuricher influences in its dogmatic or confessional stance and (most significant of all in this respect) retaining “bishops” or clerical superintendents called “bishops.” Or (to put it slightly differently) the English Church might have rather resembled the Scottish Church of the 1560s and 70s with “bishops” being replaced by “superintendents,” before James VI began his fitful attempts to restore episcopacy for the sake of his better control over the Kirk’s administrative structure. (MacCulloch has some undeveloped suggestions along some of these lines at the end of his big biography of Cranmer.)

    As it was, though, it would make an interesting argument to discuss what was the identity and significance of those “Catholic elements” preserved by Elizabeth I and whether they are more significant than those quite different “Catholic elements” preserved in Lutheran churches (e.g., a robust view of the bodily presence of Christ “in, with, and under” the bread and wine of the Eucharist) in the 16th Century and beyond.

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