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The Rev. Samuel Edwards: Comments on the news from Rome

October 29, 2009

Tonight I came across some comments by the Rev. Samuel Edwards on the news from Rome.  As you may recall, we have often posted sermons by him and think he is one of the better preachers in Anglicanism.  Fr. Edwards is now at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in North Carolina, and his comments on the offer of the “personal ordinariate” can be read on their site.  For me the most relevant portion was what he says about his own response to the news:

My overall response to this news is very positive and hopeful.  There are a number of reasons for this, most important among them being

+ the evolution of my own doctrinal thinking and historical reflection, which has essentially erased from my playbook the typical objections against the Roman communion used by Anglicans of all stripes of churchmanship;

+ the realization that, on every major issue of personal morality laid before mankind for the last century and the Roman communion has been consistently right and thus has more in common with traditional Anglican catholics than they do with the Anglican Communion of which many of them have been, and some still are, a part;

+ an increasing conviction, shared with several of our TAC bishops, that the results of the “Anglican experiment” in sustaining a Catholic Church that is non-papal indicate an answer in the negative; and, most importantly

+ a deepening desire to see manifested outwardly and visibly the union in truth for which the Lord Jesus prays.

Make no mistake:  That I am a catholic Christian and a catholic priest is something of which I have no doubt.  But in light of all that is happening and of all that has happened, both to me and to Anglican Christianity, it seems an inescapable imperative that our inner unity in the truth of the Gospel must be manifested outwardly and visibly and in such a way that the many expressions of the one Faith that are in accord with that Gospel be gathered together so that, as integral parts of one great jewel, they may cast the Light that cannot be extinguished across a dark and needy world.  To be sure, “it is the Spirit that giveth life,” but as essential to the full appreciation of the way God works within and among us is the knowledge that “a body hast thou given me,” and that mystical Body is called into “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

I am somewhat saddened by this, particularly Fr. Edwards’ statement that “the typical objections against the Roman communion” have been “erased” from his playbook.   If this comes to fruition, he will be a great loss to Anglicanism.  But I do hope he finds peace, should the ACA finally go the Roman road.

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