On behalf of English ARC we were asked to begin a comparative study of the Roman Catholic and Church of England ordination rites, in order to determine — assuming that the consensus on the Eucharist and the Ministry reached by ARCIC I is affirmed by our two Communions — to what extent these rites are consistent with the doctrine on these two issues set out in the Final Report, and how far the Church of England rites satisfy the criteria of validity now required by the Roman Catholic Church. We think that a long answer to these questions requires a detailed examination of these rites. A short answer to the question of validity can be given by showing that the Church of England rites omit nothing which is now indispensable from a Roman Catholic view. We shall set out the short answer first, then the long.
Our examination is confined to the two contemporary rites of the Church of England, namely those of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the 1980 Alternative Service Book. We have not made a study of the 1552 rite, on which Pope Leo based his judgment, because the question we were asked to examine concerns the sufficiency of the rites in use today.
Editor’s note: the scan of this document does not include a line in the margin of pages 2-7 that indicates paragraphs regarded as essential in the Roman rite. A re-scanning of these pages is needed.
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