Although today’s United Episcopal Church has made great strides in unity with ACC, back in 1980 Bishop Doren was careful not to bind the UEC to the St. Louis Affirmation, allowing the “spirit” rather than “letter” to prevail. Recently, the presiding Bishop of the United Episcopal Church outlined something resembling a Solemn Declaration. It must be said this was merely a passing comment by the UEC’s archbishop and not a formal intent. Nonetheless, what was outlined made the gist of a terrific solemn declaration, a genre of confessionalism that historically marks North American orthodox Anglicanism.
Of the St. Louis Congress, Archbishop Peter Robinson said, “Really all that needed to be done in 1977 was to reaffirm the Traditional High Church POV [point of view]. Simply stated…”
“1. This Church affirms that Holy Orders of deacon, priest and bishop are, according to Scripture, to be conferred only on suitably qualified men.
2. The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion are to be interpreted in accordance with the first six Ecumenical Councils of the Church.
3. This Church accepts as its standard of worship only those editions of the Prayer Book conformable to the Book of Common Prayer, 1662.
4. This accepts the traditional moral teaching of the Church affirming in particular the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death; and the sanctity and indissoluability of the marriage vows between one man and one woman.”
Using Bishop Robinson’s four points, I composed an XYZ solemn declaration integrating +Peter’s comments with the SD’s of other traditional Anglican churches, mostly, APA, ACC, and UK-TAC. A preamble is always a nice addition, but it’s really icing on the cake. I am sympathetic with something that asserts England’s ancient origins along lines found in the TAC Concordant, “Established in our particular identity of history, character and purpose within the constant tradition of the Church from its arrival in the British Isles in the earliest Christian centuries”. I would probably finish the preamble by including this statement on British origins with the two bullets from the Affirmation’s preface regarding salvation by Jesus Christ alone and St. Vincent of Lerins, but replacing the Vincentian canon with Andrewes’ Formula to keep doctrine safely in the primitive era.
However, the more knitty-gritty is the body of the Declaration itself, and this was mostly lifted from the original 1893 SD with as little alteration as possible. I’ll likely play around with this fictitious SD for a bit. Notice the bold portions which mark clarifications to the 1893 original:
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.
WE, the Bishops, together with the Depuites from the Clergy and Laity of the XYZ, assembled in Provincial Synod, make the following Solemn Declaration:
WE declare this Church to be, and desire that it shall continue in full communion with all Traditional Anglicans throughout the world, as an integral portion of the One Body of Christ composed of Churches which, united under the One Divine Head and in fellowship of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic, Reformed and Protestant Church, hold the One Faith revealed in Holy Writ, and defined in the Creeds, known as the Nicene Creed, Athanasius’ Creed, and Apostles’ Creed, as maintained by the undivided primitive Church in the undisputed Ecumenical Councils; receive the same Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as containing all things necessary to salvation; teach the same Word of God; partake of the same Divinely ordained Sacraments , through the ministry of the same Apostolic Orders; including Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, to be conferred only on suitably qualified men; and worship One God and Father through the same Lord Jesus Christ, by the same Holy and Divine Spirit Who is given to them that believe to guide them into all truth.
And we are determined by the help of God to hold and maintain the Doctrine, Sacraments and Discipline of Christ as the Lord hath commanded in His Holy Word*, and as the Church of England hath received and set forth the same in the Book of Common Prayer of 1662, and only those editions of the Prayer Book conformable to it; and the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of 1562 interpreted in accordance with the first six Ecumenical Councils of the Church; and to transmit the same unimpaired to our posterity.
*This accepts the traditional moral teaching of the Church affirming in particular the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death; and the sanctity and indissoluability of the marriage vows between one man and one woman.“
Some comments on the bold above. Though most belong to Lord Peter, I took liberty to add some modifications based upon previous TAC SD’s. The term “traditional Anglicans” replaced the original “church of england throughout the world”. Though I don’t wish to give a wink to the ACC’s altered St. Louis version, and I personally believe these terms are synonymous (traditional Anglicans would know themselves as the church of england abroad), I changed the phrase to dismiss any misconception that communion with radical liberals in Canterbury or elsewhere was necessary to being ‘orthodox’. When in doubt, I went with the bulk of Continuing SD’s.
Haverland has discussed what terms mean. What does ‘traditional’ mean in the Anglican context? What does “orthodox”? I thought the question was interesting, so I pulled some explanations from the St. Louis churches. (of course they would point to the Affirmation). The TAC concordant gives a two-part definition, incorporating the non-jurors’ relation to the East and the patristic father St. John Damascus:
1.2. The term ‘Traditional’ as used in this context refers to that living witness of the Spirit within the Church by which her continuity is assured from age to age. It is described in a letter of 1718 AD from the Eastern Patriarchs to the English Non-Jurors: “We preserve the Doctrine of the Lord uncorrupted, and firmly adhere to the Faith He delivered to us, and keep it free from blemish and diminution, as a Royal Treasure, and a monument of great price, neither adding any thing, nor taking any thing from it;” and by St. John of Damascus: “We do not change the everlasting boundaries which our fathers have set, but we keep the Tradition, just as we received it.“
TAC’s Preamble also provides a few reference points to better flesh out ‘Tradition’ which suggest not only the Apostolic and Patristic foundations of the Church but a possible consensus today:
DETERMINED to maintain the unbroken continuity of our tradition within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ from its inception to the present day, especially as expressed in the precepts of the Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church;
ESTABLISHED in our particular identity of history, character and purpose within the constant tradition of the Church from its arrival in the British Isles in the earliest Christian centuries, and as expressed in its traditional formularies; and
REMAINING in Communion with all such Churches, Provinces and Dioceses throughout the world which have been established in and are faithful to the same constant tradition, to which the historic Chair of St. Augustine at Canterbury is called to bear witness:
Evidently, ‘traditional’ has something to do with the churchmanship of the non-jurors and its attempted rapprochment with Greeks. There is also a tendency among ‘traditionalists’ to make the 1549 rather than the 1662 BCP the basic text for interpreting BCP revisions. This would be acceptable given Traditionalists actually stayed within the framework of the theology outlined in the 1549, considering the canons in Edward’s second year. Unfortunately, too many self-professed ‘traditionalist’ abuse the 1549 as a spring board for the Anglican Missal and Roman ritual addition. This includes intercessions of saints, reverences to icons, altar relics, etc.. That said, I believe the 1549 has been an ongoing and necessary reference point for old high churchmanship, and I see nothing wrong with this statement given it’s taken with sobriety.
I named the three creeds just to be consistent with other continuing SD’s but this was probably the least wanted modification since ‘creeds’ should be plainly understood. Lord Peter mentions the 1662, and this should be enough to clarify possible discrepancies with American use.
The rest is self-explanatory. Archbishop Robinson’s rationale for qualifying the 39 articles with a specific number of general councils can be read here. I had most trouble finding a place to insert Robinson’s moral principles on marriage. These are found in the third section of the St. Louis Affirmation. There is no existing SD that bothers to clarify moral principles, leaving such re-assertions for subsidiary documents. Most continuing SD’s handle this by making reference to the St. Louis Affirmation. Instead, I used an asterisk and just let it ‘hang’ at the end. This is something that deserves more thought, and I’d be inclined to add other moral transgressions that are pervasive since the 1950’s, better summing the ‘central error of 1977’, not stopping with either divorce or WO.
“Orthodoxy” is a term much batted around these days. Haverland suggested its often vacuous meaning. I’m always fond of rigorous definitions. It certainly indicates a kind of churchmanship. Perhaps “orthodoxy’s” can be first credited to Bishop Laud who scribbled “o” before the names of non-puritan divines in the 17th century? Possible elaboration might require a look into Laudian canons, especially the subscription formula used by Laud giving the Archbishop the unpleasant appellation of ‘disciplinarian’. Orthodoxy in this sense would be those who could affirm historic formula, including the 39 articles.
The Anglican Church-USA (ACIC) roughly equates “traditional” to “catholic” while reserving the term “orthodox” for “evangelical”. This is probably the most simple clarification, especially when considering the earliest continuers called themselves “Anglican Orthodox”. The ACIC claims approval for the same doctrine and standards for catholics and evangelicals, yet ascribes differences of ceremony to the liberty of ‘style’. However, ceremonial style can impinge upon doctrine, especially when ceremony with various sacramentals and icons ascribe a local grace to the ornament. Sacramentals is usually the backdoor way medeival Roman Catholic and Eastern theology creeps into the church. In such cases, the theology of the 1549 BCP is compromised (as noted above).
Another route to demystify “orthodoxy” would be to weigh and distill a common denominator from extant Solemn Declarations. In this case, it would be pretty close to Laud’s canons–BCP, 39 Articles, Ordinal–combined with the more recent Quadrilateral. Solemn Declarations are the modern link to the 1571 and 1584 subscription canons. The 1584 articles correspond to the basic formula of BCP plus 39 articles. Meanwhile, the 1571 canon touches the main points of the Quadrilateral. Therefore, SD’s already are brief statements of historical orthodoxy, closely related to Anglican canon. Indeed, ‘traditonal’ and ‘orthodox’ ought to overlap if it wasn’t for abuses taken with Anglican ceremony.
Solemn Declarations are unique to North American Anglicanism. They conveniently locate a church within a history of Anglican faith and order that goes back to Tudor canon. If North American Anglicanism is ever to ‘regather’, various Solemn Declarations may slowly converge upon plain and clear terminology rather than, as some do, mollify theological differences with ambiguous language. For the most part, the 1893 Declaration is standard with the best SD’s sticking close to it. But, even the 1893 can benefit by clarifying the condition for male clergy and specifying the 1662 against the 1979, etc.. Questions regarding the standard prayer book and nature of holy orders seem to be the two biggest issues for modern Anglicans, impairing communion and sparking splits. Certainly any modern SD needs to address these problems,and Bishop Peter Robinson’s summation does well in this regard.
Anyway, the imaginary Solemn Declaration for UECNA shows how easy they are to compose. Comparing contemporary examples was very helpful in this respect.
Very impressive, Charles. Ever thought of submitting this to Lord Peter?
thanks Mark! Could use some more changes, but good idea!
The 39 Articles of 1562? Was not Article 19 added in 1571?
Please explain why you SD would cite the 38 Articles of 1562 rather than those with current authority in the Church of England abroad.
the articles of 1562 are understood as the 39. Articles 29 and 20 were added by Parker and Elizabeth at the end of 1562. Let me find the relevant quotes from Frere and Gibson. Meanwhile, my source for such a date is taken from terms of subscription found in the 1604 canons (c. 36) as well as Whitgift’s 1584 ‘three articles’. Check out the language therein, and the links for these two codes can be found at the right under “Anglicanism”. According to Hardwick, in 1621 Archbishop Ussher, in a sermon before the English Commons, said, “We all agree that the Scriptures of God are teh perfect rule of our faith’ we all consent in the maingrounds of religion drawn from thence; we all subscribe to the Articles of doctrine agreed upon in the synod of the year 1562” (p.179) Thus, 1562 is commonly taken to include all 39. I understand your scruple, and this miffed me too. At least the 1571 date is repeated in the ratification attached to the Book of Articles. However, I would say the 1571 and 1562 dates are basically interchangeable. Both article 20 and the alteration of article 29 happened at the end of 1562, hence, the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1562. This how most SD phrase it, this being the historical form of subscription, and I believe I’ve seen the same “1562” on some inside covers of the 1662 despite the attached ratification in the back.
In my copy of the 1662 Prayer Book (Oxford University Press, 1969), found on the title page before its Book of Articles (p. 689) is printed:
Yet 39 articles are included.
Thank you for the explanation. The conflation is very unfortunate. The original documents refer to the “Articles of Religion” of 1562, whereas by “The Thirty-Nine” is commonly understood those of 1571.
I verified with Hardwick on the events around the 1562 date. Interestingly, the convocation did not deliberate until early 1563, so the 1562 date is actually the dispatch or the Writ of summons sent from the Queen to the clergy, having the royal signature Nov. 11 1562. The southern convocation did not begin deliberation until Jan. 12, 1563 & ratified the draft on Jan. 29th, as prepared by Cox and Guest whom assisted Parker & based upon the Latin version of the 42 articles. Cox would have been favorable to some of the Swiss-Reformed confessions while Guest was likely prone to the Lutheran ones. Hardwick says,
I found the above quote interesting since it evidences a continuing interest for talks w/ Saxony, on-and-off since the 1540’s, and it was perhaps an attempt by Parker to bolster Protestant position before Trent. Of particular importance is the 29th article. Guest had a special hand with article 28 (Hardwick, p. 128), “yet while the romish doctrine of the eucharist was thus rejected, a new paragraph was added, on the motion of bishop Guest, to vindicate the truth from opposite perversions; for this paragraph declares that ‘the body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Lord’s Supper,’ though ‘only after an heavenly and spiritual manner'”. I certainly have more to say about this, but for now see this post on Anglo-Lutheran relations.
This first edition of the Thirty-Eight Articles was printed in 1563 in both English and Latin, so we have 2 dates at play: the year of royal writ  and that of actual convocation or first publication [both having the 1563 date]. Part of the problem might be the convocation of 1563 added article 29, but Parker, via the Queen, withdrew it afterwards. The alterations typically attributed to Parker, “were inserted by the royal council in compliance with the wishes of the monarch or the scruples of her chief advisors” (p. 141). Edward Brown seems to agree with this general account,
Until 1571, the Latin version which lacked article 29 (though it divided article 6 into two parts, making the total number of articles 39 nevertheless) would be considered authoritative. However, after the Papal Bull of 1570, the Bishops were pleased to alienate the marian clergy by excluding the “old learning” through readoption of Article XXIX. The remaining debate at this point is over discrepancies between the Latin and English copies in the 1571 printings, but this argument is over the disputed clause in article 20, not 29. Of variant Latin and English texts, Hardwick says even this is overrated,
After 1563 the Book of Articles are repeatedly referred to those of 1562. Prior to 1571, the Articles were introduced to parliament more than once whereupon the Commons sought greater freedom in ritual by omitting mention in the Articles of “the Ordinal, Homilies and all topics related to the hierarchy and ceremonial of the church” p. 149. Nonetheless, when presented to parliament in 1566, the bill addressed the Articles as “the bill with the articles printed in 1562” (p. 145).
While I was wrong about the date of Parker’s “additions”, believing such at the end of 1562 rather than after convocation amended the Articles in 1563, the year of royal writ seems to be the commonly known date, counting ratification back to it. The 1562 date is persuasive from the standpoint Crown’s Supremacy, and, in my opinion, the earlier date better acknowledges the ultimate source and mover of the Articles, while the 1563 or 1571 version seems to credit too much to either convocation or parliament. Perhaps this is why the 1562 date has been favored?
Of the English v. Latin 1571 copies and their alleged discrepancies, especially over article 20, Hardwick quotes Waterland who gave a useful summation of their history,
I personally believe any hesitations on the part of the Crown, or high-churchmen like Parker, regarding Article 29 were removed after the Bull of 1570. By 1570 the Lutheran movement is already split by the sacramentarian controversy, and I suppose the Church of England openly favors the older Reformed belief, thus siding with the Phillipists.
Undoubtedly, the motivation for the St. Louis Congress was opposition the triple-head monster of women’s ordination, dubious revisions of the prayerbook, and the growing normalization of sexual immorality and abortion on demand. Unfortunately, however, even among the opponents of Liberal innovation, a certain divisive party spirit had long ago taken root. Hence, regardless of the traditional unity promised by the St. Louis Statement, traditionalist are not unified regarding the Book of Common Prayer tradition, or about the Articles of Religion. Thus, I sincerely doubt that the Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical “traditionalists” could accept Archbishop Robinson’s position, regardless of its obvious merits.
In the first place, Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics have no desire to interpret that Articles of Religion in light of the Ecumenical Counsels. To that contrary, the prevailing Anglo-Catholic tendency is to ignore the Articles altogether or attempt to read them as consistent with the Council of Trent, which itself is most certainly at odds with consistent mind of the the Ancient Fathers. Likewise, the many Evangelicals insist that the Articles are consistent with the Synod of Dort or other Continental Confessions, which assertion is itself ahistorical and involves a reading of the Articles that is equally inconsistent with at odds with consistent mind of the the Ancient Fathers as the reading expressed in the Anglo-Catholic Tract XC. Indeed, only Old High Churchmen, which are few and far between, really adhere to the appeal to antiquity which permeated the Articles.
The other big problem is the Book of Common Prayer Tradition. Anglo-Catholics tend to regard the Tridentine Mass and Roman ceremonial as their liturgical ideal, not the Book of Common Prayer tradition. Likewise, Evangelicals usually ignore the ornaments rubric and attempt to employ the Prayerbook in a very Continental fashion, and not as the “New Sarum,” conservatively reformed Rite that it actually represents. In sum, then, again, I believe that Archbishop Robinson’s appeal to the Book of Common Prayer Tradition is not palatable to many, if not most, Anglican “traditionalists.”
In sum, while I personally believe that Archbishop Robinson is correct about what real Anglicanism is, I doubt whether many self-confessed Anglicans alive today, whether “progressive” or “traditionalist,” actually want any part of it.
Good to see your comment. Feels like old times! I think you provide a fairly accurate summary of the problem. I recently read Arthur Middleton’s short book, Restoring the Anglican Mind. Though he makes little distinction between old high church and advanced ritualism (or for that matter early- vs. late-tractarianism), his general thesis is sound. Anglicans need to recover method, particularly the appeal to Tradition. Lord Robinson seems to tackle so-called anglo-catholic embellishments by strict appeal to early centuries, not beyond the sixth ecumenical council, so I guess he’s advocating the reliability of the first seven hundred years. Robinson is particularly desirous of bracketing off the fourth Lateran Council that is sometimes mistaken as ‘ecumenical’. Evangelicals are another problem but might be handled in a likewise fashion. Of course, the evangelical hubris is to think church history began like the big-bang on Reformation Day, so any recognition of tradition on their part promises to flesh out the Erasmian premises first-generation protestantcy. The big secret is very few evangelicals today are either rigorously ‘evangelical’ or ‘protestant’ but faux. I suppose the same can be said of many self-proclaimed ‘catholics’ who give normative status to Trent. Our vocabulary looks “designed to fail”, and I remind myself of the comment above that quotes the title page to the 1562 Articles– “for the avoiding of Diversities of Opinions, and for the Establishing of Consent”. Perhaps another reason why good Solemn Declarations, even those that include the Affirmation, are needed, i.e., to scaffold method, purpose, and intent? While I prefer the APA’s Declaration which says, “the spirit of the St. Louis”, I think the Affirmation’s general invocation of tradition was the best way to answer WO.
Why don’t you put a link to http://orthodoxwesternrite.wordpress.com/ on your blog. And especially one to xwesternritetwo.wordpress.com/the-english-liturgy/ Where the English Liturgy (1549-with Sarum additions) shows the fully illustrated text with notes.
That should be westernritetwo.wordpress.com/the-english-liturgy/ for the English Liturgy
A FB comment sent to me by Archbishop Robinson, dated Dec. 13th, kindly said, “That accurately reflects my position except that we need to get the my favourite phrase in from the Irish Cons and Cans – we affirm this Church to be “a catholic and apostolick, reformed, and protestant church.”
So, the imagined UECNA SD might then say,
I amended the imaginary SD in the post above accordingly…