Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Preamble to the Constitution of the Episcopal Church

The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, otherwise known as the Episcopal Church (which name is hereby recognized as also designating the Church), is a constituent member of the Anglican Communion, a Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, of those duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer. This Constitution, adopted in General Convention in Philadelphia in October, 1789, as amended in subsequent General Conventions, sets forth the basic Articles for the government of this Church, and of its overseas missionary jurisdictions.


Notes of interest:

(1) According to the Preamble of its Constitution, the Episcopal Church confidently asserts its self-identity as part of the "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church," not directly or immediately, but through its constituent membership in the Anglican Communion.

(2) It follows then that the bond of the Episcopal Church to the Church of Christ is both mediately established in, and historically conditioned by, its communion with the See of Canterbury, through which it has also received the self-consciously "apostolic succession" of its polity.

(3) This establishes the Episcopal Church as a “catholic” church by virtue, not merely of legal claim, but rather (and more appropriately) by virtue of family descent from one of the most ancient and venerable branches of the Church.

(4) The Episcopal Church shares this family descent with all “duly constituted Dioceses, Provinces, and regional Churches in communion with the See of Canterbury, upholding and propagating the historic Faith and Order as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer,” which together constitute a distinct “Fellowship within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.”

I'll make further comments in another entry. That's enough provocation for now.


CSPellot said...

Hola, Dr D.

One big problem (as I see it)- TEC has neither Faith nor Order as set forth in the BCP. If it does, it certainly isn't propagating it and much less upholding it.


lexorandi2 said...

Hi Carlos,

The point of the exercise was simply to explicate what TEC actually says in its Constitution, not whether TEC is actually living up to its Constitution. And of course I would take issue with you on this point if you mean to paint the whole church with one broad stroke.

But I'm curious about what you mean by TEC not having Faith or Order as set forth in their BCP. Are you suggesting that the 79 BCP is deficient? In what ways? Or do you mean something else?

Thanks for dropping in.


CSPellot said...

True, I realize I may have painted the whole church with a broad stroke- certainly not fair. There are still quite a few good men and dioceses in TEC I cannot lump in together with the liberal cartel governing TEC.

In as much as Order signifies Episcopal government and polity, yes, Order as set forth in the book is there. But in as much as Order signifies discipline (or accountability) as set forth in BCP, I'm afraid there's a big chasm between the Order set forth in the BCP and the discipline the Order essentially requires. Which brings me to Faith, meaning that if Faith is lacking accountability it is pretty much dead (kind of a free for all, but we still are TEC). In the end it's one big exercise in lip service to the Constitution of the church. In saying this, I also failed to see the point of the post.

I don't think I can say there's anything lacking or deficient in the BCP '79. I actually think it's a solid manifest of Christian doctrine; it's trinitarian and christological to the core. I use it on a Sunday to Sunday basis, but there is a gap between the Faith of the BCP and practice of the TEC; a gap which unfortunately amounts to what we have today.

Two cents.


lexorandi2 said...

The point of the post will be taken up in another post, in which I will also revive a thread that began on this blog a few months ago: what is Anglicanism.

Your friend and mine, Bob Hackendorf, left a comment on the Camp Allen/Kigali entry, that got me thinking, "What's at stake in the present Communion crisis?"