2003 Conference – Going Deep in HistoryDeep in HistoryHistory

History and the Necessity of Continuity – Fr. Ray Ryland

October 9, 2014 No Comments

Fr. Ray Ryland, a convert from the Anglican Church, talks about the importance of continuity within Christianity and Christian history. He explores the concept of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ.

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Study Questions:

-What is the idea of a “New Testament Church” and what problems does it pose, according to Fr. Ryland?

-Has the desire for a church with “historical continuity” made a difference in your faith journey?

-What is Revisionism?

-Why did Fr. Ryland conclude that Eastern Orthodoxy has no united church?

-Fr. Ryland says that all non-Catholic traditions are essentially Reconstructionist. What are the problems of Reconstructionism?

-Why is the “essence” of Catholicism continuity? Why does Fr. Ryland believe the “essence” of all non-Catholic Christian traditions is discontinuity?

-Why do Reformation, Revisionism and Reconstructionist all remain in the “shallows” of history?

-What is the difference between the Catholic Church as an institution on earth created by Christ and the Catholic Church as the Mystical Body of Christ?

-In light of Colossians 1:24 (“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church…”), discuss this passage from Pope Pius XIIʼs encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi:

“This communication of the Spirit of Christ is the channel through which all the gifts, powers, and extra-ordinary graces found superabundantly in the Head as in their source flow into all the members of the Church, and are perfected daily in them according to the place they hold in the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Thus the Church is another
Christ which on earth shows forth his person. Christ and the Church constitutes one new man in whom Heaven and Earth are joined together in perpetuating the saving work of the cross: Christ We mean, the Head and the Body, the whole Christ…..Dying on the Cross He left to His Church the immense treasury of the Redemption, towards which she contributed nothing. But when those graces come to be distributed, not only does He share this work of sanctification with His Church, but He wills that in some way it be due to her action. This is a deep mystery, and an inexhaustible subject of meditation, that the salvation of many depends on the prayers and voluntary penances which the members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ offer for this intention and on the cooperation of pastors of souls and of the faithful, especially of fathers and mothers of families, a cooperation which they must offer to our Divine
Savior as though they were His associates….Christ attains through the Church, a fullness in all things.”

-Why does continuity lead to the issue of authority?

-When is a person fully incorporated in the Mystical Body of Christ?


Branch Theory: The Catholic Church is now divided into three, equally catholic branches: the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church.

Restorationism: The belief that a purer form of Christianity should be restored using the early church as a model.

Protestant Reformation: A religious movement of the 16th century that began as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church and resulted in the creation of Protestant churches.

Anglican “Comprehensiveness”: The belief of tolerating different views on secondary issues as long as there is clear agreement on the essentials of the Anglican faith.