Can Anglicans assume that the ruling of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicea II of 787) is simply an optional conclusion to be received or refused? Classical Anglicans (and even the Anglican Non-Jurors) were generally opposed to this last Ecumenical Council prior to the East/West schism. The Council declared:
As the sacred and life-giving cross is everywhere set up as a symbol, so also should the images of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the holy angels, as well as those of the saints and other pious and holy men be embodied in the manufacture of sacred vessels, tapestries, vestments, etc., and exhibited on the walls of churches, in the homes, and in all conspicuous places, by the roadside and everywhere, to be revered by all who might see them.The Holy Fathers of this Council taught that it is permissible for Christians to make images of Christ, our Blessed Mother, and of all the Saints. Moreover, a Christian can piously venerate these holy images, just as it is permissible for a Christian might also venerate the American flag or a picture of a loved one. But the Council is clear that worship or adoration (Greek latria) belongs to the Blessed Trinity alone.
For the more they are contemplated, the more they move to fervent memory of their prototypes. Therefore, it is proper to accord to them a fervent and reverent veneration (Greek dulia) not, however, the veritable worship (Greek latria) which, according to our faith, belongs to the Divine Being alone — for the honor accorded to the image passes over to its prototype, and whoever adores the image adores in it the reality of what is there represented.
The Council is accepted by Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox. Most Continuuing Anglicans accept it. Historic Anglicanism remained reluctant to accept the Seventh Ecumenical Council not because it approves images of Christ, the Blessed Mother, or the Saints. Rather, the reluctance stems from the fact this Council not only approves of religious images but it also positively exhorts the faithful to show due reverence to sacred images.
The Holy Fathers of Nicea II state that the refusal to accept religious depictions of Christ and the proper veneration of such images is tantamount to denying the Incarnation of Christ because it spurns the humanity of Christ as being not real or incidental to the economy of human redemption. If this is the case, can Catholic Anglicanism exist without embracing this Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicea II)?