Anglican Decline and Its Biblical Remedy

For years, I thought I was called to be an Anglican priest. My wife and I wanted to plant an Anglican church in Minneapolis. To that end, I attended a beautiful Anglican seminary couched in the forests of Wisconsin. There, surrounded by men and women much holier than myself, I was challenged to grow up in Christ. During the course of my studies and discernment, I came to believe that Christ intended his Church to be apostolic—and also that Rome had greatly exaggerated Peter’s role in the apostolic college. I had many opinions about the papacy, most of them clouded by exaggeration and fabrication, and considered myself to be more Catholic than the Catholics.

“Are you Episcopalian?” people asked.

“No, I am Anglican,” I said.

“But aren’t Episcopalians Anglican?” they asked.

And I would try my best to explain how the Anglican communion is full of national churches and independent provinces that are out of communion with one another. By my senior year, I was tongue-tied.

Schism—however sincerely felt, conventional, or culturally imperative—remains schism. Anglicanism has not essentially changed since the moment King Henry VIII had, in the most frightening sense of the phrase, an original idea. Time and habit—together with popular acceptance and the enduring appeal of fresh breaks (I was in the ACNA, a break-off from TEC)—do not transform the Church of England into a “branch” of the Catholic Church. Time’s passage does not a Catholic Church make. In fact, just the opposite happens: the longer Anglicans remain out of communion with Peter’s successor, the pope, the longer the principle of decay can take effect. As in the moment of the original break, the result of schism is something schismatic every single second.

We should not mistake the gradual numbing of our awareness of schism with its disappearance or release from our ongoing responsibility for it; much less should we excuse such visible disunity by appealing to an invisible “unity in Christ”—at least not while we’re praying “on earth as it is in heaven.” The Church is more than a surface-level illusion.

It was the scariest moment of my life. My wife and I were expecting our first child, I had just passed my canonicals, our plans to plant a church were lining up, and I had no alternate career options. Yet I could no longer honestly say that Anglicanism was what Christ had in mind when he gathered the tribes of Israel and established what he called “my Church” (Matt. 16:18). Newman was right: “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” Even more, when I opened my Bible, Peter’s apostolic role began to make sense. It came alive in a way that made the story more Christ-exulting and soul-nourishing.

Christ foresaw that there would be quarrels and divisions, and, as I hope to illustrate, he took steps to make sure that there would be a solution to the problem. At the time it shocked even my “high church” sensibilities: the pope’s deepest identity as St. Peter’s successor, his special role among the other bishops in apostolic succession, ultimately rests in the same Lord who prayed “that they may be one” (John 17:1).

King Jesus
Thomas Tallis plays softy on an iPod, the repartee has only lightly bruised a few egos, and through the haze of pipe smoke my Anglican friends agree with their newly converted Catholic brother: Jesus is King. We want to do more than pay him homage and tribute: we want to live a life of total obedience to our King.

A Bible lies open on the table. The way Matthew shows us that Jesus is King is by calling him the “son of David” (1:1). David was “the king” (1:6), and Jesus is called the Christ, the “anointed one” (1:16), a title given to a Davidic king anointed at his coronation. God had promised that David’s would be an everlasting dynasty: “Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established forever” (2 Sam. 7:16). In Jesus, that promise is kept.

“The New Testament lies hidden in the Old,” wrote St. Augustine, “and the Old is unveiled in the New.” It could also be said that the Church lies hidden in Israel and Israel is unveiled in the Church. Raymond Brown says: “The kingdom established by David was a political institution to be sure, but one with enormous religious attachments (priesthood, temple, sacrifice, prophecy)…. It is the closest Old Testament parallel to the Church.”

God planned to bless the world through the twelve tribes of Israel, but they had scattered and failed. The chapter break between Matthew 9 and 10 makes it easy to miss what’s happening: Jesus grieved to see his people “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36-38), so in the very next verse he turned to his disciples and singled out twelve men to be the special leaders of his new Kingdom (Matt. 10:1). This was a watershed moment in his ministry. By choosing twelve men to be his apostles Jesus, “the Root and the Offspring of David” (Rev. 22:16), gathered the twelve tribes of Israel. The significance of the Twelve, Richard Bauckham suggests, “undoubtedly related to the Jewish hopes for the restoration of all twelve tribes in the messianic age.” The Twelve “correspond symbolically to the twelve princes of the tribes of Israel in the wilderness (Num. 1:4-16).” He concludes: “Jesus’ appointment of the Twelve symbolized the claim that in his own ministry this messianic restoration of Israel had already begun in nucleus.”

David and his lineage, the anointed kings of Judah, did not govern alone. As king Solomon appointed twelve officers to rule his kingdom (1 Kings 4:7), so also Jesus appoints twelve apostles to rule his Kingdom after his ascension (Matt. 19:28). The Twelve are his royal cabinet, the body of men authorized to do the King’s will, entrusted with vice-royal authority to represent him in his New Israel, the Church: “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me” (Luke 10:16; cf. John 20:21-23). As God planned to bless the world through Israel, he now plans to bless the world through these twelve apostles, “through their message” (John 17:20).

Jesus took the Davidic kingdom to the umpteenth degree. In the Old Testament the Kingdom of David was a manifestation of God’s own Kingdom (2 Chron. 13:8), but now God is Emmanuel (Matt. 1:23), now the Kingdom is “at hand” (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7). Inaugurated in the present, the Kingdom of God will be consummated when the Son of Man returns—but until then, it remains present. It’s really here. The Church follows inevitably from the incarnation. You could literally touch the body of Jesus, and you can literally touch the Church. Like the Davidic Covenant, but now open to gentiles, this New Covenant is a social reality—a Kingdom, what Jesus calls “my Church” (Matt. 16:18).

The Twelve knew that Christ had appointed them to an office, and that an office left vacant must be filled. After the death of Judas, Peter says to the others: “Let another take his office” (Acts 1:20). There was no debate. And Matthias was chosen to be numbered among them.

Anglicans and Catholics agree: the Lord intended his Church to be governed through the apostolic succession. The apostles and their successors—the bishops—are empowered by the Holy Spirit “to care for the church of God” (Acts 20:28). To submit to their authority is to submit to Christ: “He who receives any one whom I send receives me” (John 13:20). Even after Christ’s ascension, the Kingdom was to remain a social reality. It retains a royal administration. Jesus has gathered the tribes.

So far, my Anglican friends and I agree. But where in Scripture, they ask, do Catholics get the pope? And so as we refill our pint glasses, I turn the Bible on the table to Isaiah 22.

All the King’s Men
The apostolic ministry of the Church runs deep into Israel’s history, to Jerusalem and her kings, and to the ministers of the kingdom. And the most important minister of the king was called ’asher ‘al-habayith (LXX: tamias), the royal vizier, or the “Master of the Palace,” (literally the “one over the house”). He was the na‘ar or soken (LXX: archon), the steward or chamberlain of the king’s house (2 Sam. 9:9; 13:17; 19:18; Est. 2:2). This was the office given to Joseph by the Pharaoh (Gen. 41:40; 45:8). He was the highest ranking official in the kings royal court, not unlike a medieval maires du palais or a prime minister, appointed to manage the day-to-day affairs of the kingdom. Continued in Solomon’s reign (e.g. 1 Kings 4:6;18:1-5), the office was second only to the king in authority. He was not the king himself, but he was the king’s mouthpiece, the amicus regis, the king’s right-hand man, his confidant and counselor, the court of final appeal.

Employing Old Testament messianic symbolism, J.R.R. Tolkien presents three Christ figures in The Lord of the Rings: Gandalf (Prophet), Frodo (Priest), and Aragorn (King). As Jesus is the true heir to the throne of David, Aragorn is the true heir to the throne of Gondor. The popular story of Middle Earth provides a helpful metaphor for understanding the Kingdom of God. When you think of the steward, John Bergsma suggests, think of Denethor, the Lord of Gondor, in “The Return of the King”: the man in authority second only to the one true king. During the lifetime of the prophet Isaiah, a man named Shebna was the prime minister of king Hezekiah sometime between 715 and 701 BC. But he prepared a tomb for himself in the special place reserved for the royal sons of David. Like Denethor, he confused his role with that of the king and was no longer worthy of his office. So God sent Isaiah to Shebna with news that he would be replaced by a more righteous man, Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:

Thus says the LORD to Shebna, master of the palace:
“I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station.
In that day I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah;
I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your girdle,
and give over to him your authority.
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
I will place on Eliakim’s shoulder the key of the House of David;
he shall open, and none shall shut;
and he shall shut and none shall open.
I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot,
to be a throne of honor to his father’s house” (Isa. 22:19-23).

Although this chamberlain is mentioned elsewhere in Scripture (e.g. 1 Kings 4:1-6; 18:3; 2 Kings 15:5; 18:18, 37; 19:2), here we learn so much about this unique office. Notice, for example, that the symbol of the prime minister’s authority was the keys of the royal establishment, as he had the power to open doors as well as to close doors to those who sought the king’s presence. He wore special robes of honor and a girdle, a traditional priestly garment (Lev. 8:7). His office did not cease with his death: it was a chair to be filled by one man succeeding another. He was a “father” to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. While many of the king’s ministers had power to bind and loose, the prime minister could bind what the others had loosed and loose what the others had bound. He had plenary authority, total veto power. He was someone who you can hang a lot of weight on, like a peg in a sure spot.

The Old is Unveiled in the New…
By now my friends—most of them wiser and more learned than myself—are raising their eyebrows. I nervously tap my tobacco pipe and press on. The Davidic kingdom is the closest Old Testament parallel to the Church. It’s no surprise, then, that while Christ appointed twelve ministers to govern his Kingdom, only one of them was made “prime minister.” Only one could bind what the others loose and loose what the other bound.

In Matthew 16:17-19 we read: “When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples: ‘Who do people say that the Son of man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” The text continues:

Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona!
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven,
And whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Jesus just held something like the first ecumenical council. He gathered together the bishops-in-training of his Church to discern his identity. As a council, however, they are unable to say. But Simon steps forward with a revelation given to him from the Father: “You are the son of God!” By this, Simon does not mean, “You are the Second Person of the Trinity.” Rather, he is acknowledging that God has fulfilled his promise to David: “I will raise up your offspring after you … and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son” (2 Sam. 7:12-14).

Simon shines a light on the dynastic identity of Christ. So, in turn, Christ shines a light on the dynastic identity of Simon. In the presence of the other ministers, Jesus then appoints him to the office of the ’asher ‘al-habayith by paraphrasing Isaiah 22:19-23. The thematic parallels are strong: “what he opens, none shall shut” and “what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,” the “sure peg” and the “rock,” the “key of the House of David” and the “keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.” Jesus appointed Peter as the new “master of the palace” in his Kingdom so that he could shepherd the people in his name.

Peter’s modern-day successor—the pope—serves as the current prime minister in Christ’s Kingdom. Like Eliakim, who was a “father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” the pope leads as the “Holy Father” of the Church. As in the Davidic kingdom of old, the pope is the King’s premier representative. Until the return of the king, there was a steward over Gondor. Until the return of Christ, there will be a steward over the Church.

Until the Return of the King
At this point, my Anglican brothers draw the line. They concede that Jesus gave Peter, together with the other apostles, an important role in the establishment of his Church. As the representative and spokesperson for the apostles, the rock and the keeper of the keys, Peter would open the door of the gospel to Jews and Gentiles alike (Acts 2, 8. 10). But, they say, Matthew 16:17-19 says nothing about papal or apostolic succession. Peter fulfilled the promised role as a leader in the church, and that role ended with his death. They insist that Jesus never intended Peter’s office to have successors.

But why the dynastic reference to Eliakim? Why the “rock” and “keys”? For the rock represents permanence, and the keys symbolize succession. They are an office of authority (Luke 11:52; Rev. 3:7), and an office left vacant must be filled. Has not Christ made it plain that his Church is as Petrine as it is apostolic? On what ground or principle should those appointed to apostolic ministry have successors but the appointed office of “prime minister” not?

In his commentary on Matthew 16:17-19, W.F. Albright says: “Isa. 22:15ff undoubtedly lies behind this saying. The keys are the symbol of authority … the same authority as that vested in the vizier, the master of the house, the chamberlain, of the royal household of Israel…. In other contexts, when the disciplinary affairs of the community are being discussed (Matt. 18:18; John 20:23) the symbol of keys is absent, since the sayings apply in those instances to the wider circle.” Vladimir Soloviev reflects beautifully on Jesus giving Peter the keys:

Our Lord expressly connected the permanence and stability of his Church in its future struggle against the powers of evil. If the power of binding and loosing conferred on the apostles is not a mere metaphor or a purely personal and temporary attribute, if it is, on the contrary, the actual living seed of a universal, permanent institution comprising the Church’s whole existence, how can Peter’s own special prerogatives, announced in such explicit and solemn terms, be regarded as barren metaphors or as personal and transitory privileges? Ought not they also to refer to some fundamental and permanent institution, of which the historic personality of Simon Bar-Jona is but the outstanding and typical representative?

The God-Man did not establish ephemeral institutions. In his chosen disciples he saw, through and beyond all that was mortal and individual, the enduring principles and types of his work. What he said to the college of the apostles included the whole priestly order, the teaching Church in its entirety.

The sublime words which he addressed to Peter alone created in the person of this one apostle the undivided, sovereign authority possessed by the universal Church throughout the whole of its life and development in future ages. That Christ did not see fit to make the formal foundation of his Church and the guarantee of its permanence dependent on the common authority of all the apostles (for he did not say to the apostolic college: “On you I will build my church”) surely shows that our Lord did not regard the episcopal and priestly order, represented by the apostles in common, as sufficient in itself to form the impregnable foundation of the universal Church, in her inevitable struggle against Hades.

In founding his visible Church, Jesus was thinking primarily of the struggle against evil; and in order to ensure for his creation that unity which is strength, he crowned the hierarchy with a single, central institution, absolutely indivisible and independent, possessing its own right the fullness of authority and promise: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).”

Christ is the foundation of the Church (1 Cor. 3:11). Yet the Church is built on the foundation of the apostles (Eph. 2:20). In Revelation 21:14 we read, “The wall of the City had twelve foundations, and on them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Christ is the firm foundation of the Church … yet so are the apostles. Christ is the solid rock on which we stand, yet in Matthew 16:17-19 the Lord says that Simon is the “Rock” (in Aramaic, Cephas).

Jesus literally invented this name. To translate it into Greek, Matthew did something practical: he took a feminine word, petra, and “masculinized” it so that it could be for the first time a man’s name, Petros, or Peter. Naming Simon “Rock” may be a reference to Abraham (Isa. 51:1-2). It may also be a reference to Solomon, who built the temple on a large foundation stone (Isa. 28:16). Regardless, the only other men God personally re-names are Abram and Jacob, and every new name represents covenant, headship, fatherhood, and authority.

The “keys” and “rock” are the premiere symbols of succession and permanence. Contrary to popular Anglican opinion, they do not suggest that the Petrine office would die with Peter, but rather that it would be, like its Old Testament parallel, an office filled by successors. Christ did not intend his Church ever to be apostolic apart from Peter. Like a rock, the Petrine office is not going anywhere.

Peter and the Fledgling Church
God keeps a good thing going. The pope’s leadership throughout Church history is just a continuation of Peter’s leadership throughout the New Testament. There are little hints of it everywhere. For example, Matthew writes: “These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, who is called Peter,” (10:2). Paul says that Christ “appeared to Cephas and then to the twelve” (1 Cor. 15:3-5). But there are really big examples too. Peter announces that Judas’ office must be filled (Acts 1), Peter preaches the first sermon (Acts 2), Peter performs the first miracle (Acts 3), Peter speaks in Solomon’s portico, Peter speaks before the Council (Acts 4), and it is Peter who Paul must see when he visits Jerusalem (Gal. 1:18). Peter decides to confirm the first Samaritans (Acts 8) and to baptize the first Gentiles (Acts 10). He alone could have stood up and announced the final decision of the first council (Acts 15). Peter alone is the holy father of the new family of God, the keeper of the keys, the rock, the vicar of Christ. And despite all of this, he remains nothing compared to his King.

So it is that the Church Fathers acknowledged the leadership and prerogatives of Peter’s office as the keys were passed on to Linus, Cletus, Clement, down through the ages. Dionysius of Corinth, the twelfth pope, wrote in AD 170: “You have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome.” In AD 200, Tertullian says with joy: “Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’?” Cyprian of Carthage wrote in 256: “Would heretics dare to come to the very seat of Peter whence Apostolic faith is derived and whither no errors come?” Augustine of Hippo summed up the ancient faith succinctly: “Rome has spoken; the case is closed.”

The papacy has undergone development through the centuries, but it has not departed from the essential components given it by the Lord, acknowledged by his contemporaries, and accepted by the early Church. The papacy was God’s original idea, established for the good of his Church, for the glory of the Trinity’s great name. For Peter’s successor is still what Christ said he would be: a rock. When the pope solemnly defines an issue, we can join the fathers of the Council of Chalcedon with joy: “This is the faith of the fathers! This is the faith of the apostles! Peter has spoken!”

Obey the King
So we got to the bottom of it—our pint glasses, that is. Although the mood had change considerably in the room, no one looked like they were about to swim the Tiber. But this is my contention: in order to achieve Anglican ecclesiology, you are forced either to relegate many passages of Scripture, or to contradict the very hermeneutic by which you determined the Church ought to have bishops. The same hermeneutic that proves to Anglicans that they should have bishops also proves the papacy.

King Jesus deserves our total obedience. If the Kingdom of God is nothing less than the gathered tribes of Israel then I don’t see how we can justify being out of communion with Christ’s appointed “prime minister,” the keeper of the keys, Peter and his successors. King Jesus deserves our total allegiance. Schism is sin, no matter how eloquent our excuses. To those scattered national churches and independent provinces who remain out of communion with the pope, St. Paul’s question is a challenge: “Is Christ divided?” (1 Cor. 1:13).

The stairway out of the Catholic Church leads up into an ivory tower. The “Kingdom” is vaporized into something ethereal. “Catholicism” is warped into a cafeteria of cool traditions you can purchase to suit your opinion. “Apostolic” is reduced to mean only that the Church has a mission—with total disregard for the successors of the missionary leaders Jesus commissioned and invested with authority. The “Church” is reduced to a proposition—not of this world, but not in it either. As this “global church” proclaims a thousand contradictory truths and is scattered into a thousand quarreling fractions you have no choice but to grip your Bible tighter as you leave one denomination and start yet another. Out of communion with the pope, Christianity becomes by degrees just another philosophy. Cardinal John Henry Newman, put it this way:

Turn away from the Catholic Church, and to whom will you go? It is your only chance of peace and assurance in this turbulent, changing world. There is nothing between it and skepticism, when men exert their reason freely. Private creeds, fancy religions, may be showy and imposing to the many in their day; national religions may lie huge and lifeless, and cumber the ground for centuries, and distract the attention or confuse the judgment of the learned; but on the long run it will found that either the Catholic Religion is verily and indeed the coming in of the unseen world into this, or that there is nothing positive, nothing dogmatic, nothing real in any one of our notions as to whence we come and whither we are going. Unlearn Catholicism, and you become Protestant, Unitarian, Deist, Pantheist, Sceptic, in a dreadful, but infallible succession.

At first I was frightened by what the Bible had to say about the papacy. But I was also invited to follow and obey Jesus Christ, to strive to honor and adore the Father in the loving bond of the Holy Spirit through obedience to his Church. The biblical remedy for Anglican entropy, and the problem of division in general, is the pope. To leave the rock on which Christ built his Church is to build on sand. Only the Catholic Church, filled with the Holy Spirit and the promise of Christ to Peter, is capable of perpetual unity and renewal. Ultimately, Christ established the Petrine office so that his Church may be truly one for the glory of the most adorable Trinity.

Meanwhile, time passes. As the salt of the earth, we are called to be scattered but also to keep Christ’s savor and not be trampled underfoot. Before we start worrying about the alleged perils of too much authority, we might first look at how much energy and sophisticated thought continues to go into rationalizing too little authority and what exactly that says about us. Trying to have a Church without the pope is like trying to square what in the Kingdom will always be a circle with many orbits but only one center. Like water, time and convention will not move the rock on which Christ built his Church.

Editor’s note: The image above titled “Communion of the Apostles” was painted by Luca Signorelli in 1512.

Tyler Blanski


Tyler Blanski, a Catholic convert, is the author of When Donkeys Talk: Rediscovering the Mystery and Wonder of Christianity (Zondervan, 2012) and Mud & Poetry: Love, Sex, and the Sacred (Upper Room Books, 2010).

  • Guest

    I freelance at home, by completing simple jobs which only requires from
    you a computer and internet access and I am happier than ever… After 6
    months on this job and i had profit so far total of 36,000 dollars… Basicly i profit about $80 each hour and work for three to four h daily.And
    awesome thing about this job is that you get to choose yourself when to
    work and for how long and you get paid weekly. -> >>>>>>>Learn more here <-

  • lifeknight

    Great article for those studying the Davidic covenant and the succession of the apostles to the Pope. One is struck by the idea of schism “Schism—however sincerely felt, conventional, or culturally imperative—remains schism.”

    How true is the comment by Cardinal Newman: “Turn away from the Catholic Church, and to whom will you go? It is your only chance of peace and assurance in this turbulent, changing world.”

  • ehop

    Well done! This account sounds so much like my own journey from Anglicanism to Rome. Thanks for sharing it. And blessings on you.

  • Rusty

    I am struck by the parallel between Mr. Blanski’s analysis and my own (admittedly less scholarly) questions that supported my conversion from the Anglican Church to Roman Catholicism. As a layperson, I questioned the basis for the schism, and could find no God-based reason for it. If I truly believe in One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, how could I in conscience remain Anglican? With the Anglican Church tearing itself apart over innovative approaches to moral issues, can it be anything but wilful blindness that keeps the faithful away from Rome?

    • reader

      A friend (formerly Anglican) told me she simply could no longer endure
      being an Anglican when she found out that her former church was founded
      by King Henry VIII, who broke away from the Catholic Church because he
      wanted to remain a serial adulterer and serial killer.

      She could find no
      justification to remain an Anglican when she could see how much damage was
      wrought through history (eg by Henry VIII and Luther) because of the
      break-away from consistent and civilised teachings faithful to Christ – which only the Catholic Church had retained.

      • Rusty

        And that about sums up the most basic question that needs to be asked.

  • Ummm… Ouch?

    • James

      I honestly don’t mean this disrespectfully, but – as someone who reverted to the Catholic faith (after finding that conclusion crystal clear from scripture and history) – when I found out the origins of the Anglican Church (Henry VIII’s adultery), I couldn’t help but ask myself how anyone who knows the history of their church could be Anglican. Your profile says you identify with Augustine and Aquinas; if anything, to me that just means you have all that more reason/likelihood to be Catholic. So consider this an honest question; why are you Anglican? I mean, surely you’re aware of Matthew 16:18, the authority and structure of the Church from day 1. These are my thoughts, I’ve always wondered about Anglicans but I’ve never really one before (most people would consider it impolite to ask straight up “why do you belong to the church of a man who made it because he was disgruntled that he couldn’t screw more women in the original one?”).

      • James

        Never really asked one before*

      • I’m an Anglican because I didn’t have the faith to be a Roman Catholic. What I mean is my trajectory out of Protestantism into catholicity brought me as far as traditional high church Anglicanism. I reject the heresy out of Canterbury.

        I have a great love for Rome, am exploring possible conversion into your communion, and pray for clarity and genuine honesty in the decision. It’s not like changing one’s socks (which I’m sure you already know).

        I’ve opened up communications to a local priest for help in this matter. So when, God willing, the time comes to leave my communion and enter yours, I’ll shout it from the rooftops. I promise.

        • I hope you aren’t waiting for perfect assent.

          • Not at all. I know it’s painful from your side of things to watch somebody get so close to the door. I don’t toy around with this stuff. I’ve been seriously investigating and considering Rome’s venerable claims. I’m not against Her.

            • beentheredonethat

              Good luck on your journey. Have faith that God will guide you. (You may want to talk to His mother once in a while. She can offer some unique insights.)

            • I know your sincerity. I can only imagine the difficulty of making the leap. Godspeed.

              • Bingo. Crisis has been a wonderful nudge into decision. You’ve been a relentless witness.

        • James

          From a logical standpoint, that answer makes sense. I recommend anything from Tim Staples, Scott Hahn, or Patrick Madrid. “” is great too, among many others. Heck, the writers here at Crisis Magazine are, for the most part, outstanding.

          • Thanks! Been listening to Catholic Answers, Scott Hahn lectures, Tim Staples debates, Patrick Madrid, etc, for *years* (since 2000). They’ve been somewhat helpful but not powerfully convincing.

            The folks that have been speaking to my heart and imagination most powerfully are (in no particular order, but favorites): Josef Pieper, James V. Schall, Anthony Esolen (*huge* fan), G.K. Chesterton, John Henry Newman, Pope Benedict XVI, Fulton Sheen, the boys at the New Oxford Review, Crisis Magazine, and many others.

            • Laurence Charles Ringo

              Hmm…My question to you Anglicanae is this :What is Almighty God saying to you? Is His Voice THAT unclear to you,and if SO – WHY??

              • Who are you, my confessor?

                • Laurence Charles Ringo

                  It was simply a question,my friend,asked and answered.

                  • Not answered to you.

                    • Laurence Charles Ringo

                      Wow…you catholics are Waay too thin -skinned; chill out,why don’t ya? The sky’s not falling,people!!!

          • ForChristAlone

            Yes! This is very affirming of his journey and Anglicanae’s presence here has been a blessing among the Crisis Community of “faithful orthodox Catholics.”

        • ForChristAlone

          I would not criticize someone like you who is making a faith-filled journey. After all, the Spirit blows where It wills and all is mystery. As a Catholic, I pray for your journey. I trust in God and sense that you do as well.

        • Rusty

          I share some of your experience, having converted from Anglicanism to the Roman Catholic Church after being baptized Anglican as a young adult. I married a wonderful Irish Catholic girl, and attended Mass with her (and our children) for 20+ years before I came home.

          There are many wonderful things in the Anglican liturgy (the Book of Common Prayer literally sings) but doubts about Apostolic Succession, the injection of political liberalism and moral relativism into Anglican beliefs (because there are many, often opposing beliefs espoused openly by both priests and lay Anglicans), and (ultimately) being open to the Holy Spirit calling me to embrace Rome. I too was highly influenced by individual Catholics; my late mother-in-law’s example of giving her troubles up to the Lord, and by St. John Paul II’s message “Be Not Afraid”.

          Faith is a journey. Christ calls us from where we begin, wherever that is. God bless you.

          • Thanks for your kind and encouraging words. I can’t blame Anglicans jumping out the sinking ship of liberal Canterbury into the creaky ship of Rome. Blessings!

        • Rudeforthought

          I implore you to stick around in the Anglican Communion. Rome’s about to lose that little keystone that the bridge of their “one true church” claim rests on. They have a Pope who isn’t serious about Catholic doctrine and seems to have no problems contradicting it. He’s just as dead set on compromising with modernity as the Archbishop of Canturbury, he’s just moving at a slower pace. But Anglicanism isn’t invalidated by what happens at Westminster. Rome crumbles if the Vatican breaks. Roman Orthodox parishioners and priests will have three options: 1. Become Sedevacantists, 2. Live in a state of denial worse than they do today, 3. Join other churches in Apostolic Grace and return to the original model of regional Archbishops

  • publiusnj

    This is a deep and savvy analysis. It does not, though, mention Christ’s triple express conferral of pastoral authority on Peter (despite his triple denial-on Good Friday Eve) that is recorded in John 21:15 et seq.

    Nor does it analyze the import of Christ’s conferring universal authority on the Church in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). The Church was not sent to some peoples; it was sent to all peoples. The Church thereafter acted as a universal church. Peter, who was on the lam from Herod at the time of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15), nevertheless came from parts undisclosed (he was on the lam after all) to Jerusalem (where he could be arrested as an escaped prisoner) to lead the discussion and impart to the Church the guidance he had received from God on the Gentiles (See Acts 10). Significantly, the proclamation of the Council in line with what Peter said was sent as authoritative teaching binding not only on Antioch (the church that had sought the guidance) or on Antioch and Jerusalem, but on all churches to whom it was sent (Acts 16:3-5). The benefit of that was that the churches that received the teaching were then strengthened in their faith!

    The idea that the Church should be broken up along national lines is one only a politician could love. Think about what happened when Scotland set up its own church once the lairds of the Congregation got rid of Mary Stuart, who was Catholic as a result of being raised at the French court which had been able to extract a concordat from the Pope and was therefore content to sit out the power grab we know as the Reformation. The lairds went with a congregationalist church because each of the lairds wanted to keep his share of the ecclesiastical pie. In England, by contrast, it was Henry Tudor–and after a short restoral to Catholic Unity by his elder daughter, his younger daughter–who “broke with” Romein favor of a national church run by him. As a result, the Anglicans retained an episcopal polity overseen by the king. So what happened when Elizabeth died and her cogregationalist cousin James ascended the throne? He like the Episcopal polity better than a congregationalist one and tried to impose that on the Scots. As a result, the Entire Seventeenth Century was consumed with friction throughout both still nominally separate countries, punctuated by bishops’ wars, a civil war and a “Glorious Revolution” all of which revolved primarily around the issue of ecclesiastical polity (and not really about theology). Why? Because politicians care very much about who is in charge of what.

    The silliness of “church follows political boundaries,” moreover, has been shown in many other instances since; most recently in Ukraine. Now that Kiev is free of Moscow why should the Abp of Kiev (in whatever denomination) report into the Patriarch of Moscow?

    • William Tighe

      James VI and I a congregationalist; who knew? Or don’t you know the difference between a presbyterian church polity and a congregationalist one?

      • publiusnj

        It is a distinction without much difference, I know. Both sects are part of the so-called “reformed” wing of Protestantism (and thus, “reformed reformed,” I suppose), but like the rest of the Protestant phenomenon they can’t stay together for very long and therefore come up with distinctions without difference to justify their fissiparousness. QUERY: if Jean Calvin was such a glorious magister, why couldn’t he, at least, keep the Reformed Church together?

        In all events, I used “congregationalist” without capitalizing it specifically to draw attention to the political issue of whether a central authority (i.e., the monarch) would control the church as a whole or whether subordinate chieftains would get their piece of the action. The lairds fought for 150 years to retain the right to control their local congregations and eventually won, but that didn’t keep the “Kirk” together. The lairds were so vicious in their opposition to the kings’ plans to at least unite the Established Church throughout the Island of Britain that they went to war several times. Despite the disunity, the English Monarch now goes to a Kirk Church when she is in Scotland (Crathie Kirk, site of Princess Anne’s second marriage, too). MORAL? Don’t mess with a politician that manages to acquire a church; they won’t let go without a fight.

        • William Tighe

          It depends. “Congregationalists” (with a small “c”) hold that the local church is the basic unit of the church, and that there is no external authority over individual congregations, save what each congregation decides voluntarily to submit to, and that only to the extent that they do so. “Presbyterians” (with a small “p’) were originally those who believed that there was only one grade of ordained ministers, pastors/presbyters; they held deacons to be a lay office. So in that sense, presbyterians and congregationalists were not opposed terms originally; one could embrace both views. Lutherans, for instance, are generally small-p presbyterians; even when a Lutheran denomination has “bishops” (or “district presidents”) they are believed to be pastors/presbyters with certain administrative functions. Luther himself was theoretically congregationalist: in a situation in which the civil authority did not embrace, foster, and enforce the true (Lutheran) faith, the congregation was the ultimate church unit, even if these congregations might (and, he believed, should) submit to a degree of regulation within a (to speak anachronistically) a denominational structure.

          Among the Reformed, though, the terms quickly took on opposed meanings. John Calvin believed that there could be, and should be, external authority over individual ministers and their congregations. In areas where the Reformed version of Christianity was the official religion, this took the form of state control, although Calvin insisted, not wholly successfully, even in Geneva, on a degree of relative autonomy for the Reformed Church within this context. Among the French Huguenots, Calvin insisted upon a presbyterian structure, and was opposed, unsuccessfully, by Jean Morely, who advocated something like a congregationalist church order.

          The Scottish Reformed Church was modelled as far as possible on the Church of Geneva, or, rather, as the Scottish Calvinists thought that Geneva should be. The General Assembly of the Scottish Reformed Church had full authority over individual congregations and clergy, even over bishops and “general superintendents” (until they were abolished in the 1580s/90s; they were restored by James VI and I after 1603, and not abolished permanently until 1689). In Scotland from the 1580s onward the term “presbyterian” took on a new sharp meaning of “opposition to the existence of bishops;” their opponents were small-e “episcopalians” (and there were no “congregationalists” of any significance in Scotland).

          James VI and I was theologically a Calvinist, but in terms of church polity an episcopalian. He held himself to be “Governor” of the church, and in Scotland, before as well as after 1603, episcopalians were willing to accept him as such, whereas presbyterians wished to keep the authority of “the civil magistrate” within and over the church to a minimum. Before 1603 he had to make occasional pro forma denunciations of “Anglicanisme” and the “prelacy” of Church of England bishops (in order to separate “moderate Calvinists” from “presbyterians”), but after 1603 it became evident that he preferred the church polity of the Church of England over anything Scottish. In England many of those zealous Reformed Protestants whom we term “puritans” came by the 1570s to desire to abolish bishops altogether, and to substitute a presbyterian church polity for the established episcopalian one. James I after 1603 managed partially to coopt “moderate puritans;” the few that remained opposed to episcopacy gradually split into what we might term presbyterians (who would have liked an English Church modelled after that of Scotland) and congregationalists (many of whom believed that the clergy ought ultimately to be under lay control, and that in Scotland presbyterian clergy enjoyed far too much political influence.)

          When the episcopal “Anglican” Church of England went down to ruin with the monarchy in the 1640s, the time seemed at hand to create a fully-Reformed English church. The Westminster Assembly of Divines drew up the Westminster Confession for this church. However, the Assembly split over church polity, with the majority favoring a Scottish-style presbyterian church and the minority a congregationalist order which would consist of autonomous congregations, but leave the civil authority (i.e., Parliament) with much greater authority over religion and moral discipline than would the presbyterian model. Parliament went on to erect a kind of hybrid presbyterian/congregationalist church structure (a “lame, limping, Erastian presbytery,” as one Scottish divine characterized it) which ensured lay control over this church at every level, save within the life of individual congregations.

          Put differently, in Scotland, the nobility and “lairds” used the partially-presbyterian structure of the church to coordinate and orchestrate opposition to Charles I in the 1630s; in England, the nobility and gentry who dominated the victorious Parliament wished above all else to avoid creating any church structure which had the potential to become an alternative source of authority to themselves.

          Please pardon the length of this comment.

          • publiusnj

            Oh what tangled webs….

        • entonces_99

          If it’s a distinction w/o a difference, then James wouldn’t have had much good to say about either, since he referred to Presbyterianism as “no religion for a gentleman.”

          • publiusnj

            Distinctions without difference are often deemed important in some venues. To quote the old folk wisdom: “in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king….”

          • William Tighe

            No, it was Charles II, James’s grandson, who said that.

            • entonces_99

              Oops. (For some reason, I’d always thought it was James, which made me smile because if that had been the case, it would have demonstrated his rebellion against the upbringing he had received at the hands of those who had driven his mother from her throne and her country.)

        • “fissiparousness”
          Word of the day!

  • Jamodus

    The Lord Jesus does not like Christians being divided into multiple denominations. Does anybody dispute this?

    • Paddy

      One of the strangest misdeeds of Henry VIII was the complete eradication of Becket’s centuries old tomb in Canterbury.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        Becket’s opposition to Henry II over the Constitutionsof Clarendon did not sit very well with Henry VIII’s idea of the Royal Supremacy, a doctrine that even the Anglican, Hurrell Froude, referred to as “so little insisted upon in Holy Scripture.”

        • The worst sort of tyrants seek to erase history.

          • John O’Neill

            The intrinsic understanding of Henry VIII’s legacy are found in the words from a Shakespeare sonnet where he mourns “the bared ruined choirs where once the songbird sang” in reference to the hundreds of Catholic monasteries and convents which were destroyed and desecrated by the followers of Henry’s new Anglican church. One need only to travel through England, Ireland , or Scotland to view the decaying remains of once vibrant Catholic cloisters which had been destroyed by the followers of the new Protestant Church in England.

    • ForChristAlone

      Very true. And we must resist this temptation to refer to the Catholic Church as a “denomination.” Was it in “Dominus Iesus” where it was stated that the fullness of the Church resides in the Catholic Church? This is fact and not triumphalism.

  • fredx2

    I still think Lord of the Rings is responsible for more pagans than anything else. After all, it promotes wizards, magic, spells etc.

    • Captain America

      I just finished a re-reading of it (at age 51). It’s wonderfully written and good literature. . . but I think, fred, you’re right: the takeaway for many is a kind of pantheism/New Age wishful thinking, which, I see, can be pleasurable. It’s nice to think that trees can talk with you.

    • Aldo Elmnight

      “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
      ― G.K. Chesterton

      • ForChristAlone

        “Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed” Can, and ought, to be killed. We deny the satanic at our own peril.

        BTW, Bruno Bettleheim authored a great book 40 or so years ago entitled The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. A wonderful psychological study of fairy tales and their value to the development of children.

    • Michael

      In that case, the Bible is responsible for the same. Talking donkey – check, talking bush on fire – check, talking cloud with dove – check

      • Michael S.

        I disagree. The examples you give are extremely rare in the range of history covered by the Bible. Whereas Lord of the Rings is saturated with and is dominated by wizards, false magic (GKC ref.) and spells etc..

    • I love Tolkien. I love fantasy. Converting to the Roman communion means I get more of this, not less. 🙂

  • Captain America

    It’s good insight, here; as a cradle Catholic, I don’t always have a good feel for all the denominational differences—and then differences between individual congregations and their ostensible denomination. So this is good to read. Tough choices.

  • Timothy Black

    Wow. That was stunning.

    It also reminds me of a joke. Why don’t Anglicans play chess? Because they can’t tell the difference between a queen and a bishop.

  • Rebekah

    Tyler! You are brilliant! I love how well you have communicated these truths that I, too, have come to believe and love. I really believe God is using you and will continue to use you to bring more of His children home to the Church.

  • Aldo Elmnight

    The Church of England is not in schism (like the eastern “orthodox” Churches). It is in formal heresy. I recall being told that they deliberately broke the apostolic succession.

    • I believe Anglican bishops (male only) carry apostolic succession (contrary to Leo XIII’s declaration).

      But simply having apostolic succession is not enough for me. It’s a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition. If I make a leap, it’s because I believe the See of Peter is necessary to the integrity of the faith.

      • Catholic pilgrim

        Anglicanae, So the words of Christ Jesus are not enough for you? Are His words (“thou art Peter & on upon this rock/Petros I shall build My Church, I hand you the keys of the Kingdom of God to bind & lose all things”) not sufficient enough for you? And you call yourself Christian? Pope Leo & the Holy Catholic Church of Christ have REJECTED the validity of Anglican orders. Furthermore, as of 2015 when the anglican Archclergyman of Canterbury & archclergyman of York approved & ordained the first Anglican English woman bishoppes, the Invalidity of Anglicanism is further confirmed. As far as American Anglicans (“Episcopalians”) are concerned, they ordained women priestesses & bishoppesses along time ago. Come to think of it: Anglican “orders” sound more like Paganism than Christ’s fulfilled Hebrew Priesthood. Anglicanism keeps breeding schism & heresy, it’s about time you jump over to the Catholic Church.

        • So the words of Christ Jesus are not enough for you?
          Yes. Fully sufficient.

          Are His words … not sufficient enough for you?
          Yes (again) absolutely.

          And you call yourself Christian?
          Baptized into the name of the Trinity and everything. Yes.

          Pope Leo & the Holy Catholic Church of Christ have REJECTED the validity of Anglican orders
          I’ve read the arguments (many times through). Not convincing from a historical standpoint. Furthermore, whenever I am received into the Roman communion, it won’t mean I think differently about the matter. It’s not an article of faith. The Pope was in error on this point. Popes can err, right?

          Furthermore, as of 2015 when the anglican Archclergyman of Canterbury & archclergyman of York approved & ordained the first Anglican English woman bishoppes…
          Erm, I’m not in communion with the See of Canterbury. I am an Anglican in communion with Anglican bishops who reject female ordination. The heretic in Canterbury has no power over the Church. Heresy cannot ever define Catholic dogma.

          . Come to think of it: Anglican “orders” sound more like Paganism than Christ’s fulfilled Hebrew Priesthood.
          I’m guessing you’ve read approximately zero(?) histories on the theology and debates surrounding the Anglican view of the episcopacy and its orders. Church history is rarely a tidy thing, and the Church in England has had a lot of interesting twists and turns. I’m not defending the mess, I’m merely pleading for a more tempered response in the light of obviously no context or exposure to the primary sources.

          it’s about time you jump over to the Catholic Church.
          Thank you, I’ve started that process. Apologies to you if it’s not happening quick enough. My understanding is growing in the Catholic faith just as yours is. And I’ll be dollars to donuts there’s a great deal of your own Catholic faith and patrimony you have yet to discover. It’s a big Country out there. I’ll be happy to sojourn with you just as soon as I’m fit for the travel.

          • ForChristAlone

            Keep doing what you’ve been doing, Anglicanae – following the lead of the Holy Spirit. You are proceeding on God’s timetable by submitting to His will in this matter.

          • William Tighe

            As a Catholic, Anglicanae, I hope that you will disregard the ignorant comments – I mean comments displaying a complete ignorance of the traditional, albeit contested, identities of Anglicanism – as you continue your search. Remember, though, there are two, if not three, plausible contenders for being “the real Mrs. Jesus:” the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, and the Oriental Orthodox Church. When I fell away from Catholic practice in the 70s, and almost became an Anglican, it was, on the one hand, the spectacle of Anglican decline (WO etc.) that made me begin to think that the essence of Anglicanism was really Erastianism and, on the other, the examples and writings of serious Anglo-Catholic scholars and friends that gave me pause. Still, though, I had to work through the respective claims of Rome and of Orthodoxy before “coming home to Rome” some 35 years ago. (In Newman’s time and place the idea of a Western Christian, even an Anglican, becoming Orthodox – a possibility Newman discussed briefly somewhere after his conversion to Catholicism, only to dismiss it – was almost inconceivable, although there were a few Anglicans that did so even in the 18th Century.)

            • I am a great fan of yours, sir. Do you still teach, and are you still a Byzantine Catholic?

              Without giving away my name, you might remember a young Anglo-Catholic fellow you had shipped a bunch of Anglo-Catholic books to years ago (2006?). I am that fellow and here hanging out with a rag tag band of sinners on Crisis.

              The book you sent me by Jalland was especially enlightening.

              Thank you for your kind words. I take little offense to ignorant but zealous words about Anglicanism. I am not on this forum to be an apologist for Anglicanism because that’s not my purpose here. I want to meet people like you who know their faith well. So far Crisis has been an exceptional online resource. Pax.

              • William Tighe

                Oh, wow; a nice antidote to my somewhat melancholiac disposition! The answer to your questions: yes, and yes.

          • GaudeteMan

            This is a bit of a paraphrase but the story goes that when Malcolm Muggeridge delayed his entry into the Catholic Church he was in India roaming around one of the Sisters of Charity’s refuges. (He had reasoned that he could do a lot of good outside the Church and that if he crossed the Tiber he may burn the bridges to so many non-Catholic Christians that he had befriended and inspired.) The wise Blessed Mother Theresa, knowing the internal struggle he was suffering, saw him roaming ‘outside’ and said “Malcolm, why don’t you just come inside with us? Malcolm responded, “God needs people like me on the outside.” In her simple rapid fire way the great saint shot back, “No He doesn’t!” The rest is Church history.

            • Right between my eyes. Love Malcolm.

              • GaudeteMan

                Our Lady of the Atonement Church in San Antonio Texas is an Anglican use Catholic church. It is Breathtaking. Faithful to Rome. Communion on the knees . Orthodox preaching. World class choir doesn’t hurt either.

                • Been there. Done that. Melted me like wax. Everything right about that church. Anglo-Papalism at its best.

          • petersjohn

            Anglcanae. Welcome aboard the Barque. Whenever that happens. You are in my prayers

          • Rudeforthought

            Don’t make him pull out the 80 “totally legitimate” Arabic Canons of the Nicene Council that were discovered by Rome in the 1500s which magically happened to confirm the primacy of Rome.

            • GaudeteMan

              Did Rome ever act as if she needed confirmation? I think not. Nice try.

  • Benjamin

    Of the some 200 references to the number 12 in the Bible you decide to compare the 12 Apostles to 12 IRS tax collectors?

  • CSM

    Indeed Herny VIII’s adultery is an ironic orgin for a Protestant Church.

    I remain struck however by Martin Luther. His attempts to reform Rome were met with hostility and excommunication. While the sale of indulgences were a primary target of his concern, certainly a litany of other concerns were made public –for discussion.

    Martin Luther’s 95 Theses:

    How do Catholic view these concerns through the prism of 500 years history? Should Luther’s discussion take place today?

    • Already done.

      Here’s the problem with Luther. Let’s say you agree with some or all of his grievances, for the sake of argument.

      The problem is, he’d didn’t confine himself to the 95 theses and we have to ask ourselves about the wisdom and consequences of his other assertions.
      Consider Sola Scriptura- it is at odds with the modern legal dictum that “all language is subject to construction”. The result has been as proposed boundaries on doctrine, but endless fracturing-there’s tens of thousands of denominations proclaiming the authority of Scripture, but varying wildly in what that means especially in eschatological, soteriological terms.
      Then there’s his position on marriage- that its a civil affair to be regulated by the state-now 500 years later, we see the difficulties inherent in that.

      • William Tighe

        By the end of his life, Luther came to be embarrassed by his 95 Theses, as (in his view) he had not shaken himself free of “popery.”

        Apart from the facts that Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide were both completely unknown to the Church Fathers, there is the Lutheran rejection of the apostolic succession of bishops as constitutive of the being of the Church, and their reduction of bishops and presbyters to sharing “one pastoral office.” And that is to speak of Lutheranism at its (from a Catholic p.o.v.) best, for in fact many Lutheran “ecclesial comminities,” both very conservative and very liberal, have no problem with “lay celebration” of Holy Communion.

        Luther himself, by the way, was very clear that what he was seeking was a “doctrinal reformation” of the Church, not a “moral renewal.” Although he was willing to invoke Jan Hus as a precursor to his “reforming work,” and hoped for the support of Erasmus before their falling out over the issue of free-will in 1524, he was very clear in stating that the fault of Hus (as well as of Erasmus) was that they both sought moral renewal within the Church rather than doctrinal reformation of it.

    • publiusnj

      Ironic? Actually, UNBIBLICAL! In truth, though, all Protestant churches have unbiblical origins.

      Where is Henry Tudor mentioned in the Bible? Where is Martin Luther mentioned in the Bible? Protestants twist and turn to avoid the clear designation of Peter as the chief of the Apostles, on their hyper-reading of Sola Scriptura when it comes to Petrine Primacy. Yet, they almost never ‘fess up to any problem with the bizarre notion that a king could declare hinself in charge of a portion of the Church that Christ founded (in the First Century, btw, as attested by the Good Book), when there is absolutely NO biblical warrant for any such a theft.

      • CSM

        Salient points made by Martin Luther, and others: Where in the Bible is the sale of Indulgences to build the Basillica ordained? Where in the Bible is priestly celibacy mandated? Where in the Bible is Papal infallibility assured? Where it the Bible is Mary venerated? Why was Rome so unwilling to seriously Luther’s very valid and reasonable reforms?

        • publiusnj

          You haven’t answered my questions. Answer where Martin or Henry is mentioned in the Holy Bible (HINT: they are not) and I will then address yours.

          A PREVIEW: I shall explain that Sola Scriptura is far less applicable to subordinate issues such as those you pose than to the central question: which is Christ’s Church? The Good Book is clear that Christ established just one Church (which He called “My Church” (Matt. 16:18)). And He commissioned that First Century Church to go out to all peoples baptizing and teaching. And Jesus did not require the Church to do only what was in “the Bible” which wasn’t even referred to as such back then.

          Indeed, Christ never wrote WORD ONE of the New Testament (he had a far more important task: training His Churchmen, the Apostles). Nor did He “commission” the Church to write a New Testament. Rather, He commissioned the Church to teach, and in the course of that teaching (i.e., Tradition), the Catholic Churchmen happened to write a number of books that were later recognized (by the Holy Cathlic Church) to constitute “the New Testament.” But remember: the Church was raising funds for its support long before the NT was agreed upon (in the 390s).

          The best proof that “Sola Scriptura” is a dodge seized upon by Luther when he was losing the debate is that the Church thought so little of the concept that it did not waste a moment of its time coming up with a Table of Contents when it held the Council of Nicea on the morrow of its licitness in 325 AD.

        • Mila

          “Where it the Bible is Mary venerated? ”
          You know Luther venerated the Virgin Mary.

          The Levi venerated the Ark. The ark contained the word of God (the Commandments), the rod of Aaron the high priest, and the manna (bread from heaven.
          What did Mary carry?
          The word made flesh (Jesus Christ), the High Priest (Jesus Christ), and the bread of life the manna (Jesus Christ).

          Catholics understand the bible so much more than most protestants understand the bible.

          • CSM

            “Catholics understand the bible so much more than most protestants understand the bible.”

            Or, you understand it differently.

      • Rudeforthought

        You win the prize for completely failing to understand the concept of the episcopate.

        • publiusnj

          And you win the prize for cryptic replies. If you had a real point to make, you failed to make it.

          • Rudeforthought

            Your deriving your reason from your principles. Nobody has to give an account for Henry Tudor or Martin Luther on Biblical grounds. It’s a ridiculous strawman. The episcopal system has always been in place with regional churches being established and maintained by the Apostles during episcopal visits. If you had any knowledge of Patristics, you’d be embarrassed to go around babbling about Henry and Luther as if you were scoring some tremendous point. Canterbury was its own legitimate episcopate and it made a legitimate decision on how it would operate. The only reason there’s a problem with this is because Rome discovered its magical power of primacy in the formal dogmatic declaration of the Council of Reims in 1049. That’s an awful long time for something so “obvious” to be formally recognized, and notably later than the church fathers who built the episcopacy.

            • publiusnj

              There is a good reason that Protestants choose not to look at the theft of the Church by Luther and Tudor. It had almost nothing to do with theological niceties but instead with realpolitik.

              As for your silly claim that it was the German and English bishops who really established the new churches: BOSH. First Luther was not even a bishop. He and his bigamous henchman and some of the other North German lords (and the Hohenzollern Abbot of the Teutonic Knights) just stole whatever they wanted from Christ’s Holy Church and did so on the supposed grounds that there was an emergency that put them in charge of the Church. The real bishops stayed with the Church.

              As to Canterbury? Whatever may be said about Henry and Cranmer and the 1534 English Episcopate, the truth is that the Episcopate, as it stood in 1554, and the then-sitting Parliament both ended the first monarch-led Anglican Church by going hat in hand to Rome and begging to be brought back into the Roman Obedience. the Pope graciously allowed them back in to Christ’s Holy Church at that point. Then when Ann Bullen’s daughter took the throne in 1558 and needed to end the Roman Obedience once again so she could have a church that would recognize her legitimacy, the very Catholic, in-place episcopate was overhrown by the Monarchy in the very first acts of her new Parliament. Elizabeth then did what she wanted with the church, including eliminating the episcopate and making up one of her own.

  • bonaventure

    There is no remedy for Anglican decline, and hopefully there never will be.

    • The more I see this discussed, the more I realize how important it was from PE B16 to authorize the Anglican Ordinariate.

      • bonaventure

        In fact, the Anglican Ordinariate is the remedy to Anglican decline. In other words, the Anglican’s return to the Church. Anything else is useless, unless they are Anglicans in Africa… but then again, Anglicans in Africa are not Anglican anymore, but more like conservative Evangelicals. And that is for another ecumenical discussion.

        • The Anglican Ordinariate is a great vindication of the good its venerable liturgy and unique character possesses. Anyone who lightly dismisses the place and importance of Anglicanism in Western Christianity does so with either no knowledge or extreme prejudice. Rome did a good thing here.

    • Albert Fiedeldey

      Sometimes we underestimate the power of a Catholic who is at once prophet,king and priest. If we had faith the size of a mustards seed we would be uprooting the barren fig tree that is protestantism. Benedict xvi has that power and he exercises it with care.

  • M;J.A.

    Good article , to hopefully to remind us , what it needs to mean,
    by the term – ‘Lord ‘ ;
    Bl.Emmerich , in her visions , narrates the scene of the Liturgy , as celebrated by The Lord and the Apostles ,the ‘many things that The Lord did the writing of which there would not be enough room ‘ and likely the very reason for the establishment of The Church – His remaining with us , in The Eucharist , to help also sustain our faith and love , that we belong to Him, in The Church , The Bride and to His Mother , an aspect of our faith that can be the healing balm , for all sense of alienation and profound reason for our hope and trust .
    A Catholic priest , who would use the words of the Eucharistic institution , sacrilegiously ,outside of The Liturgy is excommunicated automatically ( AFIK ) .
    What would the judgments be, on those , who , for various human reasons , has usurped the authority !
    Do we have a glimpse of same, in that scene , where in Peter calls the Lord aside , to rebuke Him ( !) – about The Passion – ‘ may no such thing happen to You ‘ , with all good intent ( possibly the case, in other occasions in subsequent history as well ; )
    Lord instructs Peter , in how to handle such ‘human ‘ traits , with the sharp rebuke that He felt was needed – ‘Get behind Me , Satan .’
    We see what the promise of relationship with 72 virgins do to people !
    The holy , real Presence of The Lord of The Universe , His very Mother and all of heaven , esp. at The Liturgy – was it that Luther’s faith in the infinite merits and mercy of The Lord was such that , He gave more weight , to the human weaknesses of the children in The Church and to his own role , like that of Peter , in that above scene !
    Good to see how there are so many who have the courage and grace to love The Lord with all mind and heart , by accepting what He wants us to !

  • Nestorian

    Newman overlooked three other viable candidates when he determined that his Anglicanism was not historically or doctrinally tenable:

    1) Eastern Orthodoxy
    2) Oriental Orthodoxy (i.e., “Monophysitism”)
    3) The Church of the East (i.e., “Nestorianism”)

    Not all of us who searched for the True Church have followed in Newman’s error of rather arbitrarily limiting his options solely to Roman Catholicism. But it is an error – for the simple reason, for starters – that all three of these Churches can demonstrate an organic continuity to apostolic times.

    Who broke away from whom when, and which of the four never broke away and thus remains the True Church, becomes a matter of close historical inquiry – once one has all the objectively available options on the table. But Newman never engaged in any of his own historical inquiries, except on the basis of the fore-ordained conclusion that the Roman Catholic point of view had to be the right one.

    For this reason, Newman was in the end compelled to formulate his “Development of Doctrine” ideas – ideas which when examined closely are manifest subterfuges to cast as “developments” what are in fact clear, mutually contradictory changes in Catholic doctrine over the ages on various essential points. It is a profoundly ironic state of affairs, because Newman professed to abhore relativism, yet he himself developed the principal weapon that Vatican II Catholics who are also doctrinal conservatives use to conceal the relativism of their own Christian beliefs from themselves.

    All three Eastern options that Newman ignored have far less need of such a “Development of Doctrine” subterfuge to justify their current belief as coextensive with the Apostolic Deposit of faith than does the Roman Catholic Church. The “Nestorian” Church alone, however, has no need of it, as it is the True Church.

    • Michael

      Except that the majority of the historic “Nestorian” Church is today in Communion with Rome as the Chaldean Catholic Church. The Assyrian Church of the East is a later division of the Chaldeans due to Anglican influence, and the Ancient Church of the East is a schism from the Assyrian Church. The fact is, the Chaldean Church is the continuity of the original “Church of the East” and the majority by 10-15x.

      • Nestorian

        Numerical majorities in a fallen world mean nothing in the search for objective truth. If anything, the Scriptures strongly suggest a prima facie assumption that the truth will reside with a small remnant.

        There are 400,000 Assyrian Christians today, and they existed such as they were, and such as they are – usually in remote areas – both before and after their contact with Western Protestant Christians. Nothing about coming into contact with these Western Protestant groups changed the inner essence of our Church’s faith – although there were regrettable cases of individual conversion to Western Protestant faiths.

        Our continuous historical existence goes back to Apostolic times, and was located in the vast Asiatic regions, east of the Roman Empire, until modern times. In times past, there have been millions of us spread across the Asian landmass to the remote shores of the East Pacific, organized into hundreds of dioceses. By one estimate, there were about 12 million of us around the year 900 ad.

        In fact, what are known as “Ecumenical” councils are nothing more than local, particular councils of the Roman Empire. The term “Ecumenical” implies the historical as well as theological falsehood that world Christianity is contiguous with Roman Christianity. Almost all church history is written on the basis of accepting these falsehoods as implicit premises.

        Viewing these local councils from “The East” of the Roman Empire, as our name “Church of the East” implies, we were able to give our approbation to only two of these local Roman Councils – Nicea I and Constantinople I in the 4th century – as embodying umblemished doctrinal orthodoxy.

        Nor were we, originally, the only non-Roman Christians. We had our counterparts on the western fringes of the old Roman empire in the form of the Celtic Christians – the Britons and others – who had no need of Augustine of Canterbury and Gregory the Great to bring Christianity to the British Isles.

        In fact, there are credible historical reports that Augustine of Canterbury instigated the massacre by the Angles of well over a thousand monks and nuns in the great center of Celtic Christianity at Bangor around the year 600. This marked the beginning of the end of unadulterated, non-Roman Christianity in western regions, as the Celtic Church was eventually incorporated into the Roman Catholic sphere under duress.

        But, thanks be to God, the True Church survives in the extreme East (and now also in a worldwide diaspora) to the present day.

        • Arimathean

          It is ironic that you would recognize Constantinople I (381) as an ecumenical council. It was a regional council to which Alexandria and the West were not even invited. It was elevated to the status of an ecumenical council ex post by the Council of Chalcedon (451). Our whole concept of an ecumenical council as a recurring, authoritative institution of the Church was not invented until 449, long after what is now recognized universally as the Second Ecumenical Council.

          So you implicitly accept the authority of the fifth-century councils of the Roman Empire to invent the concept of an ecumenical council and to elevate Constantinople I to that status – but you do not accept their status as ecumenical councils.

    • Newman was well acquainted with the historical options. The gaping hole is the See of Peter. That’s what compels my attention.

      • William Tighe

        More specifically, and accurately, the Chaldean Catholic Church is the authentic institutional heir of the ancient (so-called “Nestorian”) Church of the East. That body, much reduced by 14th/15th century Muslim persecutions, split into two or three competing bodies in the late 17th/early 18th centuries, and in the period between the 1760s and 1804, were all gathered into Catholic unity.

        The contemporary “Assyrian Church,” by contrast, originated in 1553 as a split from that “Nestorian Church” by a small group of its bishops who sought and obtained recognition of the pope as an “Eastern Catholic Church.” Persecuted by the Moslem authorities, they took refuge in the remote highland region of Hakkari in SE contemporary Turkey, where they remained in contact with Rome until the early 1600s. When contact with Rome was resumed in the 1660s troubles arose when Rome was informed that this group considered Nestorius and his teacher Theodore of Mopsuestia to be saints, and Rome ordered their names to be stricken from their church calendar. Rather than do so, in 1670 (or 1672) this group repudiated communion with Rome. So, ironically, the ancient “Nestorian” Church of the East is today in full Catholic communion, while the present-day “Church of the East and of the Assyrians” (to give it is full title, dating from the 1870s; they have always disclaimed the name “Nestorian”) originated as a Catholic body.

        I am not certain whether the contemporary Assyrian Church claims to be the “true Catholic Church” in the same way that the Catholics, the Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox all claim to do. When speaking with one of their bishops about such matters well over a decade ago, what he said to me seemed to indicate that they had embraced a version of the old Anglican Branch Theory: the idea that the “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church” of the Creed was a visible, yes, but divisible, body, and that it had been so divided, and this would be no surprise, given the influence of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s “Mission to the Assyrians,” which existed to give material and moral support to Assyrian Christians from the 1870s to just before WW I. That bishop’s view was, in effect, that those church bodies which (1) had true bishops in the apostolic succession, (2) believed the Eucharist to be a true sacrificial rite in which the bead and wine became the true Body and Blood of Christ, and (3) rejected the practice of the purported ordination of women, were all parts (or branches) of “the True Church.” That is why I listed only three candidates for the position of “the real Mrs. Jesus” in on eof my prior comments on this thread.

        • Nestorian

          I can assure you that the contemporary Assyrian Church DOES claim to be the “True Catholic Church.” That is why Assyrian parishes in the US designate themselves as the “Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East,” and why the Catholicos-Patriarch designates himself as

          But in fact, the cultural circumstance of being Assyrian, and the geographical circumstance of being Eastern, are all historical accidents. They do not define our essence as the One True Church of Christ. Simply speaking, and boiled down to its essence, ours is THE Holy Apostolic Catholic Church.

          And we have no need of a “branch” theory to make this claim. In point of fact, we are the True Root, and the doctrinally divergent Branches are all of Roman origin, starting with the heretical Council of Ephesus in 431, which distinguished itself by the coarse violence of Cyril of Alexandria against Nestorius of Constantinople (who, by the way, was not even a “Nestorian,” strictly speaking, since he resided in the Roman sphere).

          • Nestorian

            The cooptation of our Chaldaean brethren by the Roman papacy is deeply regrettable, and a source of sadness. They too, are now mere branches, who formerly had access to the fullness of truth.

            The fact that Chaldaeans today outnumber Assyrians means nothing as far as matters of historical and doctrinal truth are concerned. We are the Lord’s Sacred Remnant, attesting timelessly and changelessly to His Truth, over 2000 years. There are no falsely infallible and theologically false “developments” that characterize the unchanging essence of our faith.

            • Fascinating exchange, but why do you hang out in a Roman Catholic forum given your discontentment with the Western apostasy?

              • ForChristAlone

                It is annoying indeed. There are not a few who do that here.

              • He or they (or another party using this pseudonym) claimed to have been banned at one point, and purposes of evasion may have been reason for the multiple pseudonyms (Nestorian, Assyrian Church of the East).

                Now he or they use “Nestorian” consistently, if not exclusively. A pseudonym appearing in grey indicates a guest posting, which could be displayed by a number of posters and it does not limit a poster to a single identity.

                In any case, it appears that whether this is a single person, or many, there are limited purposes in posting- defiant tresspass, contentiousness, disruption and antagonism.

                Like many antagonists who jam or troll, the purpose seems to be use us as proxies in supressing some internal dissonance.

          • Nestorian

            And just because one of our bishops maintains the “Branch Theory” says nothing whatsoever concerning whether this view is of the essence of our faith.

            Might I ask who this bishop was? Was it, by any chance, His Eminence Mar Bawai Soro?

            More generally, we make no claim to embodying infallibilty in any institutional authority – either monarchical or conciliar – and never have. Our doctrinal epistemology is based on the idea of witness TO the faith, rather than on infallible authority OVER the faith.

            At key points in history, individual figures have borne witness to this faith in particularly heroic ways. The Eastern Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky has articulated the basic ideas well – though he misapplies them somewhat based on his Eastern Orthodox point of view.

            Maximus the Confessor, though a Roman Christian, constitutes one example of such a witness of particular importance to us, since he paved the way for the 6th “Ecumenical” (but actually merely local Roman) Council in 681.

            This Council, with its doctrine of the “Two Wills” and “Two Energies” in Christ, represents a forceful assertion of christological orthodoxy against the Eutychian and Cyrillian distortions of the Roman Empire. In point of fact, Maximus thus strongly affirms the metaphysical basis underlying all of the classical “Nestorian” exegeses of Scripture by important figures of our Patristic tradition, such as Theodore of Mopsuestia and Babai the Great.

      • Nestorian

        I am aware that Newman knew a lot of history. That is what compelled him to articulate his untenable “development of doctrine” paradigm, whose criteria logically permit many changes over time in Roman Catholic doctrinal claims over the centuries falsely to pass of as non-changes.

        Newman’s “Development of Doctrine” criteria are, in fact, a recipe for relativism. Catholic Traditionalists are not wrong in having noticed this.

        The fact is that Newman never gave serious consideration to the points of view on Church history of any of the three existing Eastern options. Effectively, he simply ignored their existence in his researches and reflections, which is clearly not in accord with the truth.

        Newman was too much a creature of his time and place, and was able to view the mass of historical facts solely in terms of the standoff between the Catholic Church and the Church of England, with which he was of course intimately familiar.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        You are right. Another notable convert from Anglicanism, Mgr Ronald Knox explained the difficulty very well:- “Strange as it may seem, I had always assumed at the back of my mind that when my handbooks talked about ” Arian ” and ” Catholic ” bishops they knew what they were talking about ; it never occurred to me that the Arians also regarded themselves as Catholics and wanted to know why they should be thought otherwise. “ Ah! But,” says my Church historian, “the Church came to think otherwise, and thus they found themselves de-Catholicized in the long run.”

        But what Church? Why did those who anathematized Nestorius come to be regarded as “Catholics” rather than those who still accept his doctrines? I had used this argument against the attitude of the Greek Orthodox Church when it broke away from unity, but it had never occurred to me before that what we mean when we talk of the Catholic party is the party in which the Bishop of Rome was, and nothing else: that the handbooks had simply taken over the word without thinking or arguing about it, as if it explained itself; but it didn’t.”

        He continues, “If you ask “Who are the Orthodox?” you will be told “The people who hold the Orthodox Faith.” If you ask them how they know it is the Orthodox Faith they say “Because it is held by the Orthodox Church.” And the Nestorians will say exactly the same of themselves and who is to choose between them? Each say that they have the consensus fidelium behind them, and if you ask who the fideles were you are referred back to the very formula which the consensus fidelium was to prove. But if you ask a Catholic “What is the Catholic Faith? ” and are told it is that held by the Catholic Church; if you persevere, and ask what is the Catholic Church, you are no longer met with the irritatingly circular definition “the Church which holds the Catholic Faith “; you are told it is the Church which is in communion with the Bishop of Rome.”

        • And this camel’s back is broken.

          The first time I saw you post this many moons ago (to me I think) I was a little annoyed, because it was true and I had no gainsay.

          The second time reading it I am overjoyed because it is true, and I can only say “Amen.” Thank you.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            Knox’s test avoids the question-begging assumption of defining Christians by examining their tenets, or the Church by its teaching. It is also a test remarkably easy of application; just what one would expect of the criterion of a divine message, intended for all, regardless of learning, capacity or circumstances.

  • jacobum

    Based on readily available and documented history it’s difficult to understand the reasoning of one becoming an “Anglican Priest”. It is and has been a contradiction in terms. The Anglican Church is/was founded on pure heresy by Henry VIII a former “Defender of the Faith” turned stone cold heretic. The AC/COE has never had any standing or continuity then or now. How could it? “Cranmer’s Godly Order” by Michael Davies is a superb and thorough explanation of how, to take license from St Athanasius….”They took the buildings but we kept the faith”. The terror, deaths and martyrdom unleashed against Catholics during the “English Reformation” has never been fully recognized especially during the 44 year reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Truth be known, more Catholics were killed then than the actual 2000+/- killed during the “Inquisition” But then again the adage that “winners write the history” is confirmed. The modern moral madness was officially unleashed by the Lambeth Conference of 1930 approving birth control. The slide continues.

  • jdobbinsPHD

    This is a wonderful article, and lays out the case so clearly and logically. It should be used in any course on apologetics dealing with Church history, the unity Jesus called for, Papal primacy, and Catholicism as the one Church established by God.

  • Rudeforthought

    I couldn’t compose a better reply than <a href=""Father Jonathan Mitchican already has.

  • FrR

    Excellent article. A great summary overview of the institution of the Petrine Office. I was particularly struck in reading how this is really the central ecumenical question: Did Jesus give Peter an Office of primacy and succession? Every other theological question in ecumenical dialogue is resolved in this one, because if we say ‘yes’, then communion with his successor is ecclesiologically (and morally?) necessary. If we are truly Christian, then we have an obligation to be in communion with Peter’s successor.

    And since infallibility in matters of faith and morals flows directly from the keys to loose and bind, and from Jesus’ guarantee that Hell will not prevail over His Church founded on Peter, then all other theological disagreements find their answer in papal pronouncements. As Mr. Blanski quoted from St. Augustine, “Rome has spoken; the case is closed.” The idea that the Roman Catholic Church has erred in some of its teachings is just not tenable, lest Jesus is made out to be a liar…

  • Marie Hurt

    Matthew 23:9 red because they are the words of Christ says
    “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which
    is in heaven.” Therefore the idea of a pope is wrong. Also popes are
    supposed to be celibate but the so called “first pope” Peter was
    married. This is in Matthew 8:14. Jesus heals Peter’s mother in law.

  • Grace Peace

    I also find the Scriptural comments compelling, but I look to the Fathers for their take on this piece of Scripture and universally , without exception, they see the rock to be Peter’s faith and not his person–even though it has been argued that is contrary to the grammar of the text. Yes, they see the Church as one–it was then–and they see Rome as holding the primacy. But they do not link it to these Scriptures. On the contrary, they take precisely the opposite position as the Roman apologists. We can argue that papal primacy of divine origin is a theologicla opinion among many in the early church, but we can not argue that it is catholic.

  • Arimathean

    A very interesting article. While I, as an Orthodox Christian, obviously cannot agree entirely with the conclusion, I have to say this is the strongest argument I have ever seen for Papal primacy. Blanski’s reliance on OT typology is more likely than any other formulation to appeal to Orthodox thinkers. However, there are weaknesses in his argument. I will refute two of his references in particular.

    First, at the apostolic council in Acts 15, Peter was not the chairman. The fact that he “stood”, far from showing his leadership, proves he was not the leader. In antiquity, being seated was the sign of authority. (That is why a bishop’s authority is symbolized by his cathedra.) The council’s conclusion was pronounced not by Peter, but by James, who is clearly depicted as the chairman. (In general, one should not expect to find Luke-Acts supporting Petrine leadership since Luke was a follower of Paul, not of Peter. Mark, on the other hand, is in the tradition of Peter, and Matthew tends to follow Mark more closely than does Luke.)

    Second, the decision of the Council of Chalcedon did not rest on Pope Leo or his Tome. Rather, the council took up Leo’s Tome and judged its orthodoxy based on its consonance with the teaching of St. Cyril of Alexandria, who was regarded as the authority on matters of christology. The council pronounced Leo’s Tome to be orthodox, proclaiming, “Cyril and Leo are one!” The papal legates were much annoyed that the council did not simply accept Leo’s Tome as the final word. Fortunately, the Empress Pulcheria knew that the positions of Rome and Alexandria had to be reconciled in order to maintain unity of the Church (and of the empire), and she used her influence to ensure that Leo’s contribution was given a respectful hearing. Unfortunately, the Alexandrian extremists were not interested in unity or truth – they were only interested in imposing their faulty monophysite interpretation of Cyril on everyone else.

    As with all arguments for papal primacy, the biggest leap is getting from St. Peter, as leader of the apostles, to the Bishop of Rome as his unique successor. I have yet to see this gap bridged without sleight of hand, and this article is no exception. The big problem is that no pope made such an argument for his own authority before the third or fourth century – and then no one outside Italy showed any familiarity with this supposed tradition. Bridging this gap will require a completely different sort of argument than the one presented here – probably one that involves something akin the Newman’s work on development of doctrine. E.g., Scripture establishes the Petrine office, and the Church eventually determines how the office is to be filled. I think the current ecumenical discussions on the theology of primacy might have something to contribute here.

    The big obstacle is history. From the fifth century to the eleventh, the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople held equivalent, parallel positions. Rome held appellate jurisdiction in the West and Constantinople in the East. The Church was, in fact, neither a monarchy nor a pentarchy, but a de facto diarchy during this period. The best hope is probably to differentiate Rome from Constantinople in some way. The dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary has suggested the fact that no Pope attended an ecumenical council may suffice here. Popes held themselves apart from the deliberations and then “received” the findings of the council, implicitly reserving the right to pass judgment on councils ex post.

    I forwarded the article to a few Orthodox friends, thinking they would find the OT typology interesting. It launched quite a discussion!