We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Setting aside their "proposals" -- which are truly fantastic, or merely ill-informed -- we may well contemplate the following considerations [all 'typos' in the original].

They then set out their doctrinal position:

  1. They accept the 12 articles of the Creed of Nicaea and Constantinople, and repudiate 12 additional articles of Rome (i.e. the creed of Pius IV).
  2. They affirm the consubstantiality of the Holy Trinity, and that God the Father is the arch.
  3. The procession of the Holy Spirit is understood as "from the Father by the Son".
  4. The Scriptures are truly inspired by the Holy Spirit.
  5. The Holy Spirit assists in General and particular Councils.
  6. The number and nature of "charismata of the Spirit" are agreed.
  7. Christ is the sole foundation of the Church; prophets and apostles have a derivative authority.
  8. Christ alone is the head of the Church. Bishops have a vicarious headship. The Non-Jurors own the independence of the Church in spiritualia of all lay powers.
  9. Every Christian ought to be subject to the Church. Disciplinary authority is affirmed.
  10. Communion in both kinds is strongly asserted, and Roman practice condemned.
  11. Eucharist and Baptism are generally necessary to salvation. Other sacraments, though not in this sense so necessary as Baptism and Eucharist, are to be celebrated with reverence and Catholic use.
  12. Purgatory and purgatorial intercession in the Roman sense are repudiated, but the intermediate state is affirmed.'

Finally they list disagreements with the Orthodox:

  1. Canons of ancient General Councils are not on a par with Scripture. They may be dispensed with by the governors of the Church where charity and necessity require.
  2. They refuse to give our Lady the glory of God – i.e. they are against doulia and hyperdoulia.
  3. They have qualms about the direct invocation of saints.
  4. They will not pronounce on the manner in which the elements in the Eucharist become the Body and Blood of Christ. This is a mystery which we cannot pronounce upon. They want to leave it indefinite and undetermined – since there is nothing stated beyond this in scripture and tradition, i.e. they are firmly against transubstantiation.
  5. They are apprehensive about images as leading the unlearned to superstition. They want canon 9 of Nicaea II explained in such a way as to safeguard against this.


On the subject of "disagreements," one might well wonder: are such at the level of dogma, doctrine, or theology?

  • Dogma: The unchanging, non-negotiable core elements of the Orthodox Christian faith. Dogma is defined mainly by Ecumenical Councils.
  • Doctrine: The ways in which dogma is explained to those who are learning it, especially catechumens and in the process of exegeting Scripture. This changes over the centuries, especially as new dogmatic definitions (though not new dogmas) are promulgated through the conciliar process, and also as influenced by the reflections of theology. This is more variable than dogma but less variable than theology, since it tends to get codified for teaching purposes.
  • Theology: Expansive, creative reflections and applications of dogma and doctrine. Here there is more room for speculation and elaboration. There may be multiple models in theology for interpreting and understanding dogmatic definitions and what is in Scripture. Such models may all be true in their way and yet not be compatible or reconcilable with each other.

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