Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Ministry of Absolution in the Anglican Church

"ALMIGHTY God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness, and live; and hath given power, and commandment, to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins : He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel. Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance, and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him, which we do at this present; and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure, and holy; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord."

"And because it is requisite, that no man should come to the holy Communion, but with a full trust in God's mercy, and with a quiet conscience; therefore if there be any of you, who by this means cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned Minister of God's Word, and open his grief; that by the ministry of God's holy Word he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness."

"Here shall the sick person be moved to make a special confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter. After which confession, the Priest shall absolve him (if he humbly and heartily desire it) after this sort:

OUR Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive thee thine offences: And by his authority committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

1662 Book of Common Prayer

With these things in mind I am posting one of the best (in my humble opinion) pieces on the ministry of Confession and Absolution available from the traditional Anglican perspective. Many texts written on this topic can have a tendency to simply mimic Roman practices and the theological justification for them. Other authors ignore what the Prayer Book and the Anglican divines have to say on the topic entirely and offer no guidelines as to its use.

Again, I hope this volume will be useful to priests and laity.

The Ministry of Absolution : An appeal for its more general use with due regard to the liberty of the individual

Cyril Bickersteth, M.A.
of the Community of the Resurrection

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Recommended Books. . .

The Hymnal, 1940 A traditional Episcopal hymnal commonly used in traditional Anglican parishes, but also a wonderful resource to have at home too. Item No. 1940 Price $22.00

Signed Sealed and Delivered by Bishop Ray Sutton of the Reformed Episcopal Church. Bishop Sutton's masterful work on the Sacrament of Baptism. This is the only book of its kind -- well researched and a valuable resource. Item No. 2033 Price $16.00

Outline of an Anglican Life by Louis Tarsitano This short book gives an excellent overview of the faith and practice of Anglicanism. This book is especially good for those new to the Church and those seeking Confirmation. Item No. 2032 Price $15.00

An Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion: Historical and Doctrinal Edward Harold BrowneBishop Browne's excellent commentary on the Thirty-nine Articles of Relgion is a classic. This does an especially good job at showing that the Articles are not only biblically based, but also firmly grounded in the Fathers and the historic traditions of the Church. It is being reprinted by Classical Anglican Press as part of the Reformed Episcopal Seminary Series. Item No. 2101 Price $44.95

Private Prayers and DevotionsLancelot Andrewes This very personal collection of prayers and devotions was published two decades after Andrewes' death. This is a beautiful and very personal work of Anglican spirituality. Item No. 2085 Price $2.00

Episcopal Recorder, Inc.826 Second AvenueBlue Bell, PA 19422(610) 292-9852 ext. 104Email:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Catholic Religion:

A Manual of Instruction for Members of the Anglican Communion

Once a standard read of centrist Anglican Catholic thought (cognizant of where the Catholicism of the undivided Church ended and the novel doctrines of Rome began--as well as being very honest about the need for the English Reformation), this text is now no longer in print from one of the publishing houses of the mainline Episcopal Church. Thankfully, Wipf and Stock has a new paperback edition (ISBN-10: 1556354681 or ISBN-13: 978-1556354687), and the 1917 edition is available for pdf download--for FREE--from the Internet Archive.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pro Ecclesia Anglicana!

"See to it that you teach nothing. . .which you would have religiously held and believed by the people, save what is agreeable to the teaching of the Old or New Testament, and what the Catholic fathers and ancient bishops have collected from this self-same doctrine."
The Canons of the Church of England, 1571

THE Anglican Reformers and Divines, notably Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, Bishop John Jewel, Bishop Lancelot Andrewes and Archbishop William Laud, meant to reform, purify, and preserve Catholic Christianity within England, not create something novel. In the words of Bishop John Cosin, Anglicanism was to be "Protestant and Reformed according to the principles of the Ancient Catholic Church."

THE Anglican Church has distinct theological, liturgical, and spiritual traditions, forged in an appeal to the ancient Church. It is the goal of the Society of Archbishops Cranmer and Laud to evangelize others to Christ, being mindful of Anglican principles, as well as to make this tradition known as a living path of Christianity.

THE Society is established to be beneficial to members of the Anglican Church, particularly the clergy and especially those in the traditional Anglican community, who desire to see the Anglican Christianity of the Book of Common Prayer strengthened and preserved. For more information:

Why Archbishops Cranmer & Laud?
"We must honour Thomas Cranmer and be grateful to him, for in the English Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, the Book of Homilies, he helped translate and reform the faith and worship of the English speaking world, recalling it to a simpler more direct proclamation of Christ and the Gospel. His faith enriches ours day by day and week by week whenever we pick up the Scriptures, open the Prayer Book, and indeed, whenever we open our mouths, for along with Shakespeare, the English Bible (revised again in 1611, admittedly) and the Book of Common Prayer are as formative of our very language as they are of our faith."
The Rev'd David Garrett, the Prayer Book Society of Canada

"Gratefully remembered by scholars, Laud has found apologists among the clergy of the Church for which he died, but he is not generally loved. If his methods had been mistaken, his diagnosis of the ills of the Anglican Church has been right and his vision for its improvement had been lofty. . . .Had he succeeded in what he meant to do, he would be one of the great architects of the English Church. He failed, and sealed his failure with his blood. He stands with Archbishop Cranmer as an imperfect and much criticised man, but in the final record a faithful servant and martyr whose blood has been the seed of the Church."Historian C.V. Wedgewood in The King's War

Principles of the Society:
1) The spread of the Christianity as enshrined in the faith of the historic Church of England, Reformed and Protestant according to the principles of the Ancient Catholic Church (after the teaching of Bp. Cosin), as taken from the One canon of Holy Scripture in the Two Testaments, as taught in the Three Creeds of Western Christendom, as clarified by the Four Ecumenical Councils of the undivided Church, as practiced during the first Five centuries of the ancient Church (after the teaching of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, Abp. Laud’s mentor: This is not meant to deny the orthodox teaching of all Seven Councils, only to affirm the importance and primacy of the first Four).

2) Dedication to the prayerful study of the Holy Scriptures and ancient Fathers and Doctors of the Church, per the principles of Abp. Cranmer during the Reformation.

3) Holding to the doctrinal teachings of the Reformed Church of England as clarified in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion and as understood in their historical context based on a patristic and reformed foundation.

4) Holding to the sacramental teachings of Anglicanism as espoused in the Church of England’s 39 Articles, the Catechism of the 1662 Prayer Book, the 1662-1928 Prayer Books, and the Ordinal, stressing the preeminence of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist.

5) Dedication to the continued use of the classic English translation of Holy Scripture, the 1611 text dedicated to King James I or a close derivation or revision thereof (RSV, ESV, ASV, NKJV).

6) Perpetuation of the use of the classical and orthodox Church of England Prayer Books of 1549, 1662, and 1928, the 1928 American Prayer Book and the 2003 Prayer Book of the Reformed Episcopal Church (containing the 1662 English and 1928 American services), and the 1962 Canadian Book of Common Prayer.

7) Dedication to the study of the Anglican divines, particularly of the Reformation and Restoration periods.