Communion w/o Baptism Address at SCP Conference

The official announcement has come out so I’ll confirm it here…

My friends at the Society of Catholic Priests have asked if I would be willing to speak at the Second Annual Conference of the Society on addressing the whole Communion without Baptism debate from a catholic perspective. While I have written a bit on the subject at the Episcopal Cafe, I will go beyond what I wrote there and will fundamentally maintain that the grounds on which the debate is currently framed (inclusion vs. exclusion) represent a fundamental mischaracterization and misunderstanding of our sacramental imagination. As a result, when we even try to uphold a catholic position on these grounds, we’ve already started in the wrong place and conceded to a flawed description of the sacramental system.

More on this anon as it develops.

Needless to say, I’m humbled and honored by the request and am very much looking forward to going! I’d love to meet up with any of my readers who will be there, but I’ll warn you now that we may have a small window of opportunity; as the lovely M actually is a catholic priest she’ll be there for the whole conference meaning that I’ll be in charge of the catholic kiddies. Since I can’t leave them to fend for themselves too long, I’ll only be there for the day of my presentation. Again, more details as they become available…

9 thoughts on “Communion w/o Baptism Address at SCP Conference

  1. Bill Carroll


    It will be great to meet you in person and to hear what you have to say.

  2. The young fogey

    As a result, when we even try to uphold a catholic position on these grounds, we’ve already started in the wrong place and conceded to a flawed description of the sacramental system.

    Fascinating. So it seems you’re breaking out of this trap (I’ll guess: not starting by conceding to the other side’s terms, not accepting their label of ‘exclusive’?), whatever it is, to defend the Catholic position. Rather like the Orthodox at their best. Looking forward to reading what you have to say.

    That said (of course there’s a but) from our (Catholic, non-Anglican) position, like with your culture-wars/hot-button-issues opponents in Anglicanism, while we appreciate your acceptance and defence of the Catholic position on this matter (and your possibly creative way of so doing) we’re puzzled when someone draws a line in the sand on some issues but not others as the Catholic position is a package deal. ‘On whose authority?’ I think I understand the logic of Fr John-Julian’s position for example (essentially Episcopalianism per General Convention is his magisterium both extraordinary and ordinary) although I don’t agree with it. Classic Anglo-Catholicism: ‘We’re a branch of the larger church and the larger church says no, so no way.’ Rome: ‘I can’t! I’m only the Pope.’ … so something whose independent existence is because it said the Pope claimed too much power… now claims more power than the Pope, than our holy mother the infallible church, ever dared. Once one has thus claimed absolute power – over the matter and form of holy orders and/or of matrimony for example – why not waive baptism as a requirement for Communion?

    What would be newsworthy and a big challenge for you in the SCP is if one of the Anglican churches, the Episcopal for example, at its general synod/convention officially apostasised from Christianity by turning unitarian for example. (Not that I see that happening under your and M’s watch, but again, orthodoxy on whose authority?) Would they still be invited to Lambeth? If so, would that make your whole communion officially no longer Christian?

  3. Derek Olsen


    I promise you a post on infallibility this week. It won’t happen today, but I’ll have something substantive for you to chew on by Friday.

    Bill and Thomas,
    It’ll be great to meet in person the people I’ve been reading for so long!

  4. Derek Olsen

    C. Wingate,

    No, I don’t know when it arose… I did send a note off to my comrade Donald Schell who may be able to tell us more precisely. I don’t know if they did it from the beginning at St Gregory of Nyssa, SF or if it came in later. I’m sure he can fill us in.

  5. Bill Carroll

    I think that Rick Fabian did a lot of the theoretical work when he was still at Yale, but there probably are other places where this particular innovation arose. Asking Donald would be a good place to start.

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