The Roman Catholic document is not new news, it is continuation of the same old news of what it looks like when one church claims to be, to the exclusion of everyone else, the TRUE CHURCH.
Today, in the midst of a heart-straining morning getting a new Passport (on which I will reflect later,) I happened to pick up a slim volume of inspired foolishness titled, "St. Fidgeta and other Parodies" by John Bellair. The "Question Box Moderator," using something of the same style of questions and answers used by Tobias, received the following and answered:
"Q. If an Anglican priest converts to Catholicism, are all the confessions he heard before his conversion invalid?
A. They are invalid even if he doesn't convert. The poor Anglican sinner that this "priest" has absolved is, sadly enough, like a man who thinks he has filed a book with enough green stamps for an Eternal Reward. When, on the Last Day, he comes to the Redemption Center, God looks at the book and hands it back, saying with a frown, "These are not my stamps. Go somewhere else." Still clutching his worthless script, the bilked penitent falls headlong down the crystal stairs, bumping his head all the way to the bottom."
Well there it is. Tobias said of the Anglican understanding of the notion of the Catholic Church,
"The Anglican position can be well summed up by a few words from Richard Hooker, not unlike the Porto Alegre definition: “As the main body of the sea being one, yet within divers precincts hath divers names; so the Catholic Church is in like sort divided into a number of distinct Societies, every of which is termed a Church within itself.” (Laws III.1.14)
These positions are obviously not congruent with the Roman Catholic position, and none of these positions is likely to change in the foreseeable future."John Bellair gives us fair warning... either the Roman position is wrong, or the poor Anglican receiving "sacraments" from an Anglican Priest "falls headlong down the crystal stairs, bumping his head all the way to the bottom." This little book was written just before Vatican II and perhaps is to be faulted in its humor for being too stringent. Even "The Left Hand of God," supposed that the recipient of the sacrament is somehow covered when the matter of the inadequacy of the dispenser is unknown. Of course, going to an Anglican priest on purpose puts both priest and sinner in the same place.
The understanding that Anglican priests are deficent or not real is not then a matter about Anglican Orders, but about Anglican integrity. The whole Anglican "thing" becomes a sham and all its members fall together, "bumping heads all the way to the bottom."
That's why the document is business as usual, and business is bad.
"St. Fidgeta," patron of fidgeting children, is wonderfully written of in "St. Fidgeta and other Parodies." Too bad the book is out of print. I got mine at A Big Jar Bookstore in Philadelphia. As is appropriate, the fly lief suggets that the book was stolen from the public library. That doesn't bother me too much. I forever hope that people will take copies of the Book of Common Prayer home with them. We ought to take the slogan, "Steal this Book" and stamp in on every bible and prayer book in church. Maybe someone will take us up on the offer.
If the Rector of all Lewes reads this post he knows what his present is for Sunday next, on which occasion he has to preach, we hope, to a not to fidgety congregation.