Friday, March 26, 2010

Reading Scripture together, councils and bishops

Some links worth a look ...

Clayboy (Doug Chaplin), working his way through the 39A has some thoughts on Article 21 Of the Authority of General Councils, which, necessarily raises questions of interpretation. Here is an excerpt:

"Well, in one sense, Cranmer’s answer is an appropriate one: scripture can say a council has erred, but this fails largely to deal with the issue that scripture needs interpreting. Councils generally (and whether rightly or wrongly) declare their teaching to be an interpretation of scripture, and to teach things “taken out of Holy Scripture”. Exactly how authoritative in standing against this collegial declaration is an individual theologian’s or bishop’s (never mind an individual Christian’s) statement that a council has erred? In one sense it is not authoritative at all: it can only be a persuasive statement of scriptural teaching or meaning, to argue that the council has failed to give an adequate account of scripture. Its authority is intrinsic and lies in its own reasoned integrity. It has to appeal to, renew, or even re-create, the sensus fidelium.

Where Cranmer is right is to insist that there should be consonance between council and scripture. Neither the interpretation of the collegium, nor that of the individual, should be arbitrary, imposed simply by external authority, but themselves subject to the authority exercised by God through the Church’s reading of the scriptures. Where he is wrong is in failing to develop an adequate account of the Church, a point noted in previous posts.

A coherent critique needs to reflect more on the Church’s being under authority, and not simply having authority. It needs to take on board finer nuances of the relationship of scripture and tradition, and not a simple opposition. It needs to reflect on conciliarity and collegiality in the way that post-Vatican II Catholicism has done in theory, but miserably failed to do in practice, and so needs to take councils more seriously than this bare statement does. It needs to reflect on the role of the papacy in relation to the broader institution of episcopacy in terms other than jurisdiction: that is, it needs to conceive the Petrine ministry in a more mutual and non-hierarchical relation to the whole apostolic ministry. It needs in short, to offer a self-definition that is defined more positively and less negatively."

Then Thinking Anglicans posts links and a small citation from reports from TEC's House of Bishops' Meeting which received on same sex relationships, and which has in turn published these as their report here.

I have not had a look at this report but I understand one of the reports making up the report (confused?) is 'traditionalist'. I am a little fearful that I am going to find it is not of a high standard ... but I hope I am wrong.

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