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Ernest wrote:

Hi, guys —

I read the postings regarding Anglican Priests, confession, and absolution.

Statements made there, indicate that the Papal Bull regarding Anglican Orders, Apostolicae Curae, is widely considered to be the authority for responding to those who inquire about the validity of Anglican Orders, although I believe that it does not enjoy the status of Infallibility from the Pope.

In this case, is its content, only guidance, rather than infallible doctrine.

  • Are you affirming that Anglicans going to confession, who are truly repentant and who receive absolution are not forgiven?


  { Are Anglican Orders invalid if Apostolicae Curae is not infallible and are their sins forgiven? }

Eric replied:

Hi, Ernest —

Apostolicae Curae intended to prove, chiefly, that the ordination ritual of Anglicans was invalid for transmitting Holy Orders. The consequence of this was that every priest and bishop ordained by those rituals were invalidly ordained.

This is not to say that every individual who converts from Anglicanism has invalid orders. This is owing to the practice which was unknown at the time of Apostolicae Curae (A.C.) (and indeed probably resulted from A.C.) of gaining orders from Orthodox or National Catholic Church sources. For this reason, priest-converts from Anglicanism have their pedigree thoroughly examined before a determination is made of how they are to be ordained (although most are unconditionally reordained).

So it is not infallible from a practical standpoint. Two other points need to be considered.

  1. One is, is sacrifice essential to the priesthood?
  2. The other is, did the Anglican changes to the ritual exclude the intent of sacrifice?

On the first point, this was pretty much infallible teaching from the beginning. The Eucharist has always been considered the sacrifice in both East and West. The second point is pretty clear; everything pertaining to sacrifice was systematically removed from the Anglican liturgy.
This is a matter of history.

It might so happen that the Archbishop of Canterbury has a change of heart and changes the ritual back, and also re-ordains all the bishops with valid orders. In this case, A.C. could be revisited, but that's unlikely.

So I'd say that A.C. is a judgment, based on certain premises still in effect and based on history and infallible (ordinary Magisterium) teachings.

As for your second question, anyone can receive remission of their sins if they are truly repentant, regretting their sins out of genuine love for God and not merely fear of eternal punishment.

As a sacrament however, Anglican confession (excepting those who have valid orders from the Orthodox or National Catholic churches) is no more salutary than receiving good Christian counseling, unless God, by his mercy, deigns to reckon an invalid sacrament as if it were valid.

Hope this helps!


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