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Esse, Bene Esse, Plene Esse 

The term plene esse was used in essays by H. W. Montefiore and Kenneth M. Carey in The Historic Episcopate (1954), edited by Carey. This collection of essays was published in response to the controversy concerning whether the Church of England should enter into full communion with the Church of South India. In the Church of South India, episcopal and non-episcopal churches came together on an episcopal basis. Clergy who had not been episcopally ordained were not reordained by bishops. But all future ordinands were to be episcopally ordained, so that the Church of South India would eventually be an episcopal church whose clergy were all episcopally ordained. Carey admits that the interim presence of nonepiscopally ordained clergy was an admitted "anomaly" for an episcopal church. Nevertheless, the essays by Montefiore and Carey support full communion with the Church of South India because the episcopate is of the plene esse, or fullness, of the church-not the essence. In 1955 the Convocations of Canterbury and York approved limited inter-communion between the Church of England and the Church of South India. A similar plan and understanding of episcopacy was the basis of the proposed Lutheran-Episcopal Concordat (1991). See Historic Episcopate; see Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. 




Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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