May 19, 2004
Telford told me he tried to post his baccalaureate address from a few weeks ago on his blog, but Blogger refused to cooperate. So I shall plug it for him. (It's a PDF file, just so you're warned.)
Although he hasn't made a formal announcement, it sounds like Clutter is done for. So I've removed it from my front page. But since I evidently need at least one pacifist Episcopalian-turned-radical-Protestant professor from Pasadena on my blog, I added Hugo Schwyzer. Hugo had more comments on that column I cited in my last post, and contrasts the view from Phyllis Schlafly.
Also gone: Charles Murtaugh, who seems to have abandoned his blog, and of course, Sursum Corda. Added: The Salty Vicar, Star Strangled. (One thing I've long wondered: what exactly is a vicar?) Kynn Bartlett, if you didn't know, has joined the Village Gate collective with a new blog, Still Listening.
Posted by Camassia at May 19, 2004 03:36 PM
Hey, I've always wondered about that, too: What is a Vicar? I know it is used differently in different denominations.
In my (lutheran) church a Vicar is a third-year seminary student doing a practicum, or internship, in a parish. (When vicars finish their internship year, they return to seminary for one more year of study, whereupon then they receive a Master of Divinity degree, and may be called by a congregation and ordained. At ordination they become a Pastor.)
However, I know that many lutheran churches just call the third-year student serving their parish an Intern Pastor, not a Vicar.
In the Church of England, however, they have vicars, curates, priests, rectors, deacons, and more. I bet we could get one of your episcopal or anglican readers to explain and rank all these terms...
All right-- most of the strange titles in the Church of England are connected with the concept of a benefice. Since long before the Reformation, each parish theoretically had property whose income (wheat, pigs, rents etc.) was given to the priest of the parish. Tithes also were considered part of a benefice.
After the Reformation, benefices, well, went to the dogs. The king and his administrators often granted benefices to laymen as a type of property (oh, the simony, oh, the simony). Now, civil and ecclesiastical law mandated that the owners (or patrons) of these benefices ensure that the necessary spiritual services were provided to the parish by hiring a priest. Otherwise, the benefice simply was an investment. Shakespeare, I think, invested in benefices. Other benefices were held in trust while vacant and granted to a particular priest by the Crown, a bishop, or a lay patron. As long as the priest provided the necessary spiritual services (holding the so-called cure of souls, i.e. he took care of the souls of his parishioners), the benefice was his property, although it reverted on default (by death, conviction etc.) to the patron. So with that background...
Priest: Anyone, who having spent one year in the probationary diaconate after the laying on of hands of a bishop, is further ordained to the Sacred Order of Priests to preach the Word and celebrate the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Holy Baptism. (Catholic priest and Lutheran pastor are analogous).
Rector: Anyone who holds a benefice in their own right. A lay person who held a benefice used to be a rector in law (and still may be). It's a term of property law originally and confers no spiritual powers in itself. It does confer the obligation of providing a proper person (a priest) to hold the cure.
Vicar: The priest of a church whose rector is lay or otherwise incapable of providing spiritual services to the parish and is hired to take the cure of souls.
Curate: A recently (or not so recently) ordained priest (rarely used for a probationary deacon) who assists the vicar or rector in their duties. In older times at least, vicars and curates did most of the grunt work of the Church of England.
Thank you Caelius! I never knew what rectors and curates were either, so that clears a lot up. Those Victorian novels never explain...
Not to make things more confusing, but the model usually used in the States is slightly different.
In the Episcopal Church, a Rector is the spiritual leader of a parish. A Vicar is the spiritual leader of a mission (a congregation that receives financial assistance from the diocese, in which, technically, the Bishop is the Rector).
And the there are Deans, and Canons,...but enough for now, eh?
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