Thomas Cranmer on liturgy

March 21st is the anniversary of the death of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, a scholar, and a leader in reviving vernacular liturgy in English. In a reading posted today on Episcopal Café from “Thomas Cranmer after Five Hundred Years,” Roger Beckwith praises Cranmer’s English liturgical style:

…Though owing something to its Latin antecedents, and sharing the redundancies and antitheses characteristic of existing religious English, it achieves the difficult art of being contemporary without being colloquial, of having dignity without sacrificing vigour, and of expressing fervor without lapsing into sentimentality.

You can read the complete excerpt here.

Our thanks to reader Steve Schewe, who brought this to our attention. –ed.

44 comments

  1. I have often worshiped with traditional Anglicans who use a close recension of the 1662 English Book of Common Prayer. The cadences and phrases of the Prayer Book comfort modern English speakers given the liturgy’s inestimable influence on the language. The Collect for Purity, the Decalogue, and the Comfortable Words have stretched far beyond Anglicanism to secular expression. All English speakers today, whether Anglican or not, owe a debt to Thomas Cramner and his prose.

    Roger Beckwith notes that “he [Thomas Cramner] did not, however, cultivate antiquity for its own sake, as some of his successors in liturgical revision were to do.” (my addition) Beckwith’s observation also informs the central division between liturgical progressives and traditionalists in Catholicism and elsewhere in Western Christianity. Are postmodern Christians bound at all to their historical and confessional liturgies? Are postmodern Christians entitled to create de novo liturgy to appeal to new cultural challenges, or must we nod to the past when deemphasizing confessionalism for the sake of pan-“liturgical Christian” worship?

    While Cramner composed a new eucharistic prayer and other orations to reflect English Reformation theology, he also retained many of the Sarum collects (and analogous Tridentine prayers) by filtering the Latin through his prose idiom. Beckwith’s contention that Cramner’s unique prose surpasses both its contemporary Reformation liturgies as well as re-created “primitive” Christian worship rests on Cramner’s ability to balance translation with composition. The Prayer Book, like Janus, remembers previous performance while looking towards future generations.

    Pray Tell‘s frequent debates over the new translation highlight the inability of postmodern Christians to create any translation solely within the framework of contemporary values and mores.

    1. Cranmer’s cadences are comforting partially because of both their influence on subsequent English language and their continuous use in that language. Hopes to create such good effects by using Latinate constructions and antique or specialized vocabulary cannot succeed.

      I think you are exactly on target to say that the need is “to balance translation with composition.”

      I think you are unkind to attribute the motives you dislike to the work done by others because you dislike their results.

      1. My criticism is not just leveled at the 1973 translation of the Missal, but also the 2010/11 translation due to appear on 1st Advent next year.

        It is true that Thomas Cramner’s prose has survived because it has become “comforting” and idiomatic. I am also convinced that Cramner’s liturgy would not have weathered history without the ability to resonate on multiple levels. Another pillar of the modern English language, William Shakespeare, has been performed not only within period setting but also within contemporary “western” settings. Even more significantly, playwrights and film directors of diverse cultures have recaptured Shakespeare in a wide variety of languages and historical settings (e.g. the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa). Shakespeare matters today not necessarily because of register and tone but also because of the durability of his images. The same can be said of Cramner. He, like Shakespeare, painted succinct but profound word-pictures that have withstood cultural, philosophical, and theological revolutions. A person of today might read and say the “Prayer of Humble Access” and easily see him or herself gathering crumbs up from under the Holy Table and also everyday tables. Do any of the prayers from either the 1973 or 2010 translations capture the Latin antecedents with similar levels of literary valence?

        All of the translations of the Pauline Missal have hemmed themselves within the notion that translation should fulfill abstract academic theories such as “proclamability”. These metrics thwart the freedom of unrestrained composition to praise God and serve his people within the genius of succinct prose. Did Thomas Cramner pick up his pen with academic metrics in mind? I cannot say for certain, but his prose has shattered the expectations of any text translated with preconceived socio-academic variables in mind.

      1. Jordan Z.
        “These metrics thwart the freedom of unrestrained composition to praise God and serve his people within the genius of succinct prose. Did Thomas Cramner (sic) pick up his pen with academic metrics in mind?”

        Did the constraints of sonnet composition thwart Shakespeare’s art? Surely they enhanced it.

        H. de Balzac frequently wrote on every third line of his notebook so that he could tap with a cane the rhythm of what he had written and adjust it to the aural sensitivities accordingly. We don’t know whether Cranmer did the same. But it is reasonable to assume that anyone with his level of education in the classics in sixteenth century England would have been innately aware of rhythm and would have been able to scan poetry as second nature.

      2. Chris: agreed, in humility. Though, also feel free to tear apart what I have written, and not just my typos.

      3. Gerald Flynn (March 23, 2011 – 7:12 am): Did the constraints of sonnet composition thwart Shakespeare’s art? Surely they enhanced it.

        Undoubtedly, both Thomas Cranmer (that’s the ticket!) and William Shakespeare observed literary conventions to their profit. Shakespeare’s brilliant implementation of English language mechanics has ensured that he, among other great English authors, remains influential until and beyond our day.

        The question remains: have proclamability, assembly reception, and the Flesch–Kincaid Readability Test superseded euphony and scansion as the prime criteria of liturgical prayer? When did the social science of prayer become more important than the literary quality of prayer? This question of priority lies at the very heart of the translation debates.

        I would argue that the (English, 1662) Book of Common Prayer and the prayers of the Missale Romanum fulfill postmodern notions of social scientific criteria only because of their exemplary and timeless literary quality. Did Thomas Cranmer and the various redactors of the Missal scour journals to understand interpersonal and group dynamics? Instead, their cultivation of literary excellence for its own sake has encompassed and surpassed latter-day questions of reception and comprehension.

      4. It’s ok, Jordan! I personally prefer to spell it ‘Kramer’ as in the Seinfeld character.

  2. In all this erudition it is easy to miss that the beginning of the end of Christianity in England was greatly assisted by T Cramner.

    1. It’s Cranmer, John, not Cramner.

      Imagine!

      Poor Monsignor Bruce Harbert (referring to what is now known as the 2008 translation) once said it would last as long as Cranmer’s . . . given that it didn’t survive 2 years, I wonder will some future Einstein write:

      In all this erudition it is easy to miss that the beginning of the end of Christianity in the English speaking world was greatly assisted by J Moroney.

    2. The arrogance on display by self righteous Catholics is truly breath taking and embarrassing.

      Comments such as those by John Molnar about the end of Christianity in England are meant to be offensive and at the same time reinforce the notion of Roman Catholicism being the only true expression of Christianity.

      The comments are meant to insult non Catholics and I’m particularly thinking of Fr Cody U. who contributes a wealth of wisdom in this forum.

      Whatever his faults, Cranmer bequeathed a rich legacy for all English speaking Christians.

      It belies a meanness of spirit not to recognise and celebrate this man’s achievements.

      1. Three things:

        1. Caesaro-papism in Cranmer came from the medieval Catholic Church – I don’t see Cranmer innovating very much on this point.

        2. The implication of John Molnar’s post was that Cranmer greatly assisted the end of Christianity in Englad because of his (false) religious beliefs, not because of the Church-state relationship. This is why the post is so offensive.

        awr

      2. Caesaro-papism in Cranmer came from the medieval Catholic Church – I don’t see Cranmer innovating very much on this point.

        Read the 42 Articles of religion:

        “The King of England is supreme head in earth, next under Christ of the Church of England and Ireland.”
        “The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England.”

        This is clearly not the view of the medieval Church.

        The implication of John Molnar’s post was that Cranmer greatly assisted the end of Christianity in Englad because of his (false) religious beliefs, not because of the Church-state relationship. This is why the post is so offensive.

        Beliefs abotu the proper relationship between church and state are religious beliefs. It’s not particularly controversial to argue that the doctrine of the supremacy of the state in religious matters is deleterious to the health of the Church. Since this doctrine was confirmed and promoted in England under Cranmer it’s fair to say that he contributed to the decline of Christianity in England (and decline it certainly has.)

        It’s not ipso facto offensive to say that Protestantism is wrong.

      3. Caesaro-papism is the melding of church and state so that the church has much secular authority. That preceded Cranmer. Just the locus of Church authority changed.

        I still see an offensive implication in the comment. I didn’t read it to mean that “Cranmer, by continuing to foster the Church’s secular power, played a role in the decline of Christianity.” I sensed – and this is based on past comments of John Molnar – that it was a jab at Cranmer insinuating that his false religious beliefs, broadly speaking, contributed to the decline of Christianity.

        Within ecumenical sensitivity, of course there’s a place for stating honestly that one does not hold the the sincere convictions of another Chrstian church. That is something difference than a gratuitous claim that others’ false beliefs had alleged sociological effects.

        awr

      4. Caesaro-papism is the melding of church and state so that the church has much secular authority. That preceded Cranmer. Just the locus of Church authority changed.

        That’s simply not true.

        See the Oxford English Dictionary:

        “The supremacy of the civil power in the control of ecclesiastical affairs.”

        Max Weber distinuishes “Hierocracy, Theocracy and Caesaropapism” in the last of which there is “a secular, caesaropapist ruler who exercises supreme authority in eccclesiastic matters by virtue of his autonomous legitimacy.”

        The supremacy of the secular authority over the Church was introduced in England during Cranmer’s time and he supported its introduction. In addition, the monasteries were dissolved. The Mass was prohibited. Saints were martyred.

        We can praise Cranmer’s literary talent without passing over his role as a corrupter of true doctrine and persecutor of the freedom of the Church.

      5. Fr Anthony

        I would be more cautious about asserting that kind of equivalence of forms of “caesaro-papism.” The meldings were rather different, and had very different effects. What happened to the English people in the generation following 1532 was quite unlike anything that preceded it. It’s closest rival would have been the Commonwealth in the middle of the next century.

        I do think we need to realize that what we now see as the grace and elegance of Cranmer’s liturgical English is not necessarily free of cognitive bias that is hard to see from the side of history.

      6. Samuel,

        OK, I stand corrected. Thanks for the clarification on caesaro-papism.

        I still wonder whether this issue is what John Molnar had in mind!

        I also have to say, “corruptor of true doctrine” is a mean-spirited way of putting it. I just don’t see V2 talking about other Christians this way. I guess if that’s your attitude, so be it. It’s not mine. There was so much corruption and false teaching in medieval England, and so many of Cranmer’s reforms are similar to Vatican II (vernacular, greater emphasis on Scripture), that I wouldn’t use that phrase. I don’t think it’s very loving or charitable. I don’t see it advancing ecumenism to emphasize others’ error while implying our greater truth, and I’m thankful that V2 does not have that attitude. If that is your attitude, though, I’ll leave it at that and not debate the point further.

        awr

      7. I am not convinced that caesaropapism is an invention of Henry VIII or Cranmer. True, it had a definitive expression at that time, but a case could probably be made that it was in effect in England from the time of William the Conqueror. St Thomas Becket was probably an example of dissent against the full authority of the King in religious matters, but dissent prompted by the King’s exercise religious authority, ie caesaropapism preceded the dissent. And I would be surprised if similar assertions did not lay behind Roman assertion of political authority everywhere.

  3. “In all this erudition it is easy to miss that the beginning of the end of Christianity in England was greatly assisted by T Cramner.”

    Blessed Cranmer tried to return a gospel like simplicity to the Western church and to bring the prayers back to the people not unlike the Venerable Paul VI. If any one person has to be held accountable for the so-called end of Christianity in England I suspect that would be Mr. Darwin. Vita mutatur non tollitur as it were.

    1. Brian—-Blessed Cranmer tried to return a gospel like simplicity to the Western church and to bring the prayers back to the people not unlike the Venerable Paul VI.—-

      Dear Brian,

      I’m just going to quote Karl Liam from an earlier string. It looks like he has studied Cranmer quite thoroughly (and perhaps you could also?):

      …”For anyone who finds the current translation process to be bullying, Cranmer cannot credibly be a hero – his bullying of the English, Welsh and (very importantly but largely forgotten) Irish people far surpasses anything Rome is doing now (which is not to excuse the current translation process).

      And, however one might in our day admire Cranmer’s linguistic style, it should be remembered that it was imposed with the bloody power of the Crown and establishment behind it,….”

  4. “It’s not ipso facto offensive to say that Protestantism is wrong.”

    no it is not offensive but then there is no way to objectively defend this assertion (of Protestantism being wrong) .

    It is however arrogant to state this without some form of qualification because we are not dealing objective realities.

    1. Wow. Is Elias saying that one’s religious affiliation is merely a matter of sentiment? I realize that relativistic notion underlies most of what’s said about faith in certain circles, but still it’s remarkable to see it put so plainly.

      Perhaps I have misunderstood. I hope so.

      1. Dear Samuel & Robert

        Thank you for inviting me, a catholic christian, in my own humble way, to contradict the prevailing fashion, the so called “dictatorship of relativism”

        As I stated above, there is no objective means by which one can categorically state that Roman Catholicism is the one true expression of Christianity.

        If I am wrong in this assertion then I would be pleased to be corrected WITHOUT resort to nebulae such as “faith”, the “truth”, “Christ’s will”, Matthew 16:18 etc

        I realise that i stand outside the realms of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) but my conviction is that the CCC, is at times, a cringe-worthy expression of the Christian faith

  5. Dear Mr. Andrews,

    I have read enough of and about ++Cranmer not to have rosy eyed notions about him. I differ from him in much of his theology and in his methods, but that does not detract from my point which you have tried to obfuscate with ad hominem quotations, ++Cranmer aimed for an evangelical simplicity in ceremonial and worship.

    (Indeed Pope Pius V with his excommunication of Elisabeth may have caused more bloodshed than anyone, but that does not make me admire his liturgical work any less.)

    1. Well said, Professor Duffy!

      As for “perhaps you (Duffy) could study Cranmer thoroughly too”: It is always amusing to read the condescensions of both Right and Left when they are addressing those with whom they disagree . . . .

      But be warned, gentlemen and gentlewomen: Anyone who takes on Dr. Duffy on the subjects of Christian (and Classical) Latin and/or Anglican liturgics is entering upon an most unpromising race.

    2. but that does not detract from my point which you have tried to obfuscate with ad hominem quotations, ++Cranmer aimed for an evangelical simplicity in ceremonial and worship.

      I’m afraid I don’t know Professor Duffy as G. Michael McGuire appears to (and the name is common enough that it’s difficult to find who he might be.) I suppose if Prof. Duffy is not Catholic, then much of this is moot.

      But when Cranmer’s theology of worship is patently contrary to the Catholic theology of worship, Catholics, at least, can hardly admire him for having aimed for evangelical simplicity in worship. For what is evangelical simplicity if not simplicity in accordance with the gospel of Christ and, from a Catholic perspective, this he has not aimed at restoring, but his false idea of the thing: abolishing the idea of the Mass as sacrifice, the sacraments besides baptism and Eucharist, the adoration of the Eucharist.

    3. Prof. Duffy –I have read enough of and about ++Cranmer not to have rosy eyed notions about him. —

      Dear Professor Duffy,

      You did use the term ‘blessed Cranmer’. It certainly appears to me that you have the rose colored shades on. Unless you were using irony or sarcasm which was lost on me! If that is the case, then I apologize and btw bravo! Hurray for Saint Cranmer!! (and St.s Brutus and Cassius!!)

    4. Brian Duffy: ++Cranmer aimed for an evangelical simplicity in ceremonial and worship.

      It’s not difficult to see that a great many of Cranmer’s collects are quite literal renditions of Latin antecedents. That’s not very comme le prévoit of Cranmer. I still maintain that Cranmer placed style over ready comprehension.

      OT: Is Thomas Cranmer “blessed” on some Anglican calendars? Never knew that some Anglicans had a beatification process. Or, is “blessed” being used in a difference sense here?

  6. No, I had no intention of sarcasm or irony when I gave Archbishop Cranmer such an honorific, Mr. Andrews.

    Mr. Howard obviously didn’t take into account my comments about the fact that I do differ from ++Cranmer’s theology. One can differ from someone but can still recognize his/her greatness.

    As I understand it, Mr. Zarembo, the Anglicans like to follow the ancient way of the Catholic Church in regard to saints. They simply place a worthy on their calendars. Archbishop Cranmer, King Charles, Lancelot Andrewes amongst others grace many an Anglican calendar.

    Indeed the Venerable Paul VI had a great respect for the Anglican Patrimony & I believe was inspired to follow Cranmer’s lead – but within Catholic tradition – which resulted in the magnificent Missale Romanum & Liturgia Horarum along with the other rites of the present day.

  7. Samuel J. Howard :

    ++Cranmer aimed for an evangelical simplicity in ceremonial and worship.
    Catholics, at least, can hardly admire him for having aimed for evangelical simplicity in worship.

    Oh, I think Catholics can admire him for his aim, even if most of us think he missed the target.

    1. Tom, you’re quoting me out of context. Catholics aren’t archeologists when it comes to liturgy, we don’t believe in evangelical simplicity divorced from the historical development of the liturgy.

  8. Father R— There was so much corruption and false teaching in medieval England, and so many of Cranmer’s reforms are similar to Vatican II (vernacular, greater emphasis on Scripture), that I wouldn’t use that phrase. I don’t think it’s very loving or charitable. —

    I have to wonder what ‘false teaching in medieval England’ Father is referring to…

    Teaching is the heart of the matter. If what Cranmer taught was truer that what the Church taught during the preceding ages, then he is to be lauded …

    From everything I have read on the matter, Cranmer had a Protestant agenda which he implemented gradually under Henry VIII and then turned it on full blast under sickly King Edward. The agenda was to use the power of the Monarchy to erase the vestiges of the past, taking away from the English people what was dear to them, and create a new faith in English hearts….

    from Eamon Duffy—-At the heart of the Edwardine [[Cranmer]] reform was the necessity of destroying, of cutting, hammering, scraping, or melting into a deserved oblivion the monuments of popery, so that the doctrines they embodied might be forgotten. Iconoclasm was the the central sacrament of the reform, and, as the programme of the leaders became more radical in the years between 1547 and 1553, they sought with greater urgency the celebration of that sacrament of forgetfulness in every parish in the land. The church wardens’ accounts of the period witness a wholesale removal of the images, vestments, and vessels which had been the wonder of foreign visitors to the country, and in which the collective memory of the parishes were, quite literally, enshrined. [E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 480.]—-

    IMO “it’s very loving or charitable” to tell the truth.

    1. George Andrews: The [Thomas Cranmer’s] agenda was to use the power of the Monarchy to erase the vestiges of the past, taking away from the English people what was dear to them, and create a new faith in English hearts…. (my addition)

      One could say the same of John Knox’s successful establishment of the Kirk in Scotland through political machination. Thomas Cranmer was certainly not the first (or last) theo-political reformer to harness political power for doctrinal and ecclesiastical reformation. The notion of religious plurality, or the coexistence of different Christian confessions in one realm, definitely wasn’t on the early modern political docket. Perhaps Cranmer’s revolution was simply the luck of “right place, right time”.

      Given that the popes at this time were essentially Hapsburg employees, it’s not surprising that Cranmer’s reforms were welcomed as a buttress against an apostolic see that harbored political interests entirely antithetical to English political interests. Perhaps medieval Catholicism would have stood a better chance of survival in England if the period papacy weren’t so beholden to the Austrian-Spanish crowns. Characterizing Cranmer, Knox, or even the success of Reformed theology in the Netherlands as brutal iconoclasm covers over the period papacy’s remarkable ability to meddle in continental political affairs.

  9. Jordan—Given that the popes at this time were essentially Hapsburg employees, it’s not surprising that Cranmer’s reforms were welcomed —

    Dear Jordan,

    2 points.

    1) Cranmer’s ‘reforms’ were not welcomed by the common people. Elizabeth I remembered how quickly Cranmer’s
    –defacement of baptismal fonts, the destruction of stained glass windows, the whitewashing of pictorial depictions on walls, the painting over, or actual removal of, mounted crosses depicting the crucifixion of Jesus known as roods.— got reversed.
    (http://www.folger.edu/html/folger_institute/cultural_stress/church_idolatry.html)

    Roods and altars magically reappeared when Edward died. Elizabeth ordered that the enforcers of her new faith ensure that altars and what-not be defaced and destroyed, not lovingly hidden away someone’s dwelling!

    2) Cranmer’s Protestant faith was opposed to what the Church had always taught about Sacraments and Salvation. What part of the things Cranmer’s reforms destroyed would you have me believe came from the Hapsburgs? Our deposit of Faith or the Roods and Altars?

    1. I have no doubt that the iconoclasm occasioned by Cranmer’s reformation was unwelcome by many of the English people. This is evidenced by the physical violence which often occasioned the enforcement of Cranmer’s reforms. From what I understand, the Catholic recusancy of later periods was strongest in the areas with the greatest violent struggle over the initial phases of reformation.

      My comment on the relationship between the counter-reformation papacy and the Hapsburgs has little or nothing to do with 16th or 17th century common English sentiment about the Reformation. I am convinced that the English crown supported Cranmer’s reforms not necessarily out of a zeal for Reformation doctrine and liturgy. Rather, the seizure of church authority and property by the English Crown marked an independence not just from papal ecclesiastical oversight but also papal political collusion with England’s enemies. In other words, Cranmer’s success was not wholly due to his ideas. The political winds of the time buoyed his reforms along. History might have been different if the papacy were more even-handed politically.

      1. I apologize for the delay, but I would like to criticize certain claims of mine through secondary citation.

        #35 (March 24, 2011 – 2:38 pm): Given that the popes at this time were essentially Hapsburg employees,

        Diarmaid MacCullough, in his excellent Christianity: the First Three Thousand Years (New York: Viking, 2010 LC record), contradicts my rather rash and vague claim that the Popes of the early reformation were under Hapsburg employ. MacCullough notes that the Hapsburgs, especially after the “fall” of England, exercised great influence over the deployment of Jesuit re-evangelization in Protestant-leaning lands. (617) So, while the Papacy might have remained autonomous to some degree, the Hapsburgs directed counter-reformational policy to a great extent given their vast-landholdings and commitment to Tridentine Catholicism. (ibid.)

        #37 (March 24, 2011 – 7:41 pm): Rather, the seizure of church authority and property by the English Crown marked an independence not just from papal ecclesiastical oversight but also papal political collusion with England’s enemies.

        MacCullough contends that the downfall of Mary Queen of Scot’s Roman Catholicism restoration program did not only hinge on her inability to produce a Hapsburg heir under Philip II but Pope Paul IV’s distrust of Cardinal Pole and dislike of Philip II. (669 — 670) Hence, my previous statement that the Popes were in the employ of the Hapsburgs is contradicted by the power struggles within Mary’s reign. MacCullough is certain that the Hapsburg influence in England trumped politician’s lukewarm allegiance to Catholicism. This distrust of Hapsburg ultramontanism fueled Elizabeth’s redoubling of the Reformation (670).

        MacCullough’s commentary not only contradicts my facile and probably incorrect observations. Still, it is quite probable that politics, and not popular sentiment, spurred the English reformation.

      2. MacCullough’s latest work is essential reading for many reasons, but for my money most of all for the balance he finally brings in restoring the Oriental Churches of Africa and Asia back in the full family portrait of Christianity.

  10. Samuel J. Howard :
    Tom, you’re quoting me out of context. Catholics aren’t archeologists when it comes to liturgy, we don’t believe in evangelical simplicity divorced from the historical development of the liturgy.

    Why are you always so certain what all Catholics believe?

    It is not quoting you out of context if I am just citing what prompted my remark. To be convicted of quoting out of context you would have to show that I made an argument I could not have if I used the entire context.

    Finally, what I said merely amounted to saying that evangelical simplicity is one good aim.

    I suspect that you are unwilling to seem as if you found any good of any kind in Protestantism. I hope that is not so.

    1. I suspect that you are unwilling to seem as if you found any good of any kind in Protestantism. I hope that is not so.

      Of course there are good things in Protestantism. But anything theological or liturgical that is distinctively Protestant is something that seperates it from the Catholic Church and God has commanded us to be in and of the Catholic Church, not seperated from it.

  11. Jordan—MacCullough contends that the downfall of Mary Queen of Scot’s Roman Catholicism restoration program did not only hinge on her inability to produce a Hapsburg heir under Philip II but Pope Paul IV’s distrust of Cardinal Pole and dislike of Philip II.—

    just a little nit-picking, sorry, this is a reference to Mary Tudor. (That doesn’t negate your point)

    Otherwise I think your points are good. The Monarchy under Elizabeth I saw religion as a true ‘opiate of the people’, i.e. something chiefly to be used to serve the ends of the Monarchy and English independence. Whether or not the new faith was ‘true’ was of secondary importance.

    I admire your humility in revisiting your earlier post. Truly.

  12. Samuel J. Howard :

    I suspect that you are unwilling to seem as if you found any good of any kind in Protestantism. I hope that is not so.
    Of course there are good things in Protestantism. But anything theological or liturgical that is distinctively Protestant is something that seperates it from the Catholic Church and God has commanded us to be in and of the Catholic Church, not seperated from it.

    Am I following our logic correctly?
    Do you think that anything which has previously been distinctly Protestant cannot ever be accepted by the RCC?

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