Monday, July 19, 2010

Anglicans... still confused


The Muddled Religion still seems to have a problem grasping some fundamentals.

This headline actually made me laugh aloud:

"Will Gender and Sexuality Rend The Anglican Communion?"


Interesting tense-usage there...


Anyway, there was a line in it, as I gave it my customary 5.34 second glance, that caught my sand-flea-like attention:
It’s a question that only begs more: Does sweeping change cause schism or does incremental change cause it as well? Why would the divide last the next 90 years? How would a shift of Anglican-Catholics to Vatican loyalty change the Catholic Church?

Sorry? A "shift of loyalty" is not what is on offer here chaps. Reception into the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, from which you have spent your apostate lives separated is what's on the table.

I think there is going to be a lot of this. One of the weirdest and most tangle-brained things Anglicans believe is that they are not outside communion with the Church. This despite the use of papal language like "absolutely null and utterly void," which on first glance would appear to admit of few nuances.

I must have had less frustrating conversations than the ones I have had with Anglicans on ecclesiology, but I can't recall them off the top of my head. Perhaps they were with people who categorically and absolutely denied the existence of categories or absolutes...not sure.

But this kind of language: "a shift of Anglican-Catholics to Vatican loyalty," is, I think, representative of the long future of migraine-inducing problems to be faced by Cardinal Levada and his successors for jolly sherry-sipping decades to come.

Maybe the next pope will put an Italian in charge of the CDF like in the good old days. Then we'd really be in for a show.


Holy cow! She's the anti-Me. And she even sort of looks like me.




Young fogey emeritus said...

Of course Anglicanism's problems are inherent, ever since Cranmer et al. tried to get the king an annulment. Erastianism, a state puppet. Today everything in that church is subject to change by majority vote; imagine if a legislature had unlimited power, no constitution holding it back. (Catholicism has a constitution, doctrine.) Then as now it all comes down to 'no Pope's going to tell the ruling class who they can sleep with'.

But now a good word for Anglo-Catholics, mostly on the lines of 'their practice has been better than Novusordism', at least in the US. (Interestingly the American version looks more Tridentine but is less RC-orientated than its English cousin. Most of these folks will stay in the flea circus of splinter ex-Episcopal churches.)

Funny how what began with a dry Oxford sermon 177 years ago this month protesting the state shutting down some Anglican dioceses in Ireland (thanks to Catholic emancipation - the Irish never bought Anglicanism) turned into a group of imitation Roman Catholics and, beyond that in Anglicanism, liberal Protestants who worship more like us than the Novus Ordo.

I come from Anglo-Catholicism and can tell you a thing or two about its faults: at its worst just gay men who like to dress up. In fact the news of the ordinariates came around the time of my falling out with my last friends still in it. (Ironically, the guy who helped turned them against me is a Roman Catholic!)

But the people saying they want the ordinariates aren't Protestants putting on a show or even branch-theorists really. Most are English and have used the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite for years (by the book with a touch of Tridentine panache), and the splinter church of ex-Anglicans who want in on the ordinariates have literally signed onto the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

IOW these are at heart not Protestants. Better than AmChurch or England's Magic Circle of RC liberals.

In the worst days of Novusordism, ACs were a refuge for me, and then and since then they taught me a lot, from a touch of class (contrasted with the sentimentality that often passes for conservative Christianity) to how to use a traditional breviary.

Apostates have left Christianity. Not true of born Protestants including high-church ones.

How will the ordinariates change the Catholic Church? A friend (RC) who's an expert thinks the Pope wants another division of troops in his conservative renewal. This is only secondarily an ecumenical rescue operation.

Mark said...

Been searching through the web today for some news on the Anglican and Episcopalian issues and I think I accidentally came across your evil twin, Hilary:

Long time reader, and big fan of the blog, btw

- Mark

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Yes David, (it is "David, isn't it?)

I'm sure they tie the bows on their maniples very prettily.

Young fogey emeritus said...

It's John actually. Point taken of course but then again I don't think you'd agree with the Novusordists back in John Paul the Overrated's day, 'Give up that artsy old-fashioned stuff and become a charismatic because that's what real Catholics do'.

Zach said...


I'd ask if the interdict was still in effect about my commenting on Anglican matters, but I'm not sure I have anything to add to John's observations.

Although I will have to watch the anti-Hilary. Maybe she's from the evil Enterprise universe?


Paul Goings said...

One of the weirdest and most tangle-brained things Anglicans believe is that they are not outside communion with the Church. This despite the use of papal language like "absolutely null and utterly void," which on first glance would appear to admit of few nuances.

With the caveat that I readily stipulate to the many difficulties, ecclesiological and otherwise, of Anglicanism and Anglo-Catholicism, I would hardly call it "tangle-brained," although it is a complex issue, and, I am sorry to say, requires a nuanced understanding of what "communion" does and does not mean. If you are referring to the fullness of juridical communion, then of course you are correct, but no Anglican believes this to the best of my knowledge. The Holy See speaks of ecclesial communities which lack full communion with "the Catholic Church 'which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.'" These communities do, however, share in the communion of our common baptism, and we are told that, "Baptismal communion tends towards full ecclesial communion." This, I suggest, is what most Anglicans are referring to if they speak of themselves as not outside communion with the Church.

Further, there exists among some Anglo-Catholics a communion of our common faith. That is, these individuals would claim that they believe all that the Catholic Church teaches, and in the sense that the Church teaches it. This does not constitute a significant percentage of Anglicans, or even Anglo-Catholics, but it is--hopefully--common among those who are seeking reception into the Ordinariates, should they ever achieve juridical existence. One can, of course, question the sincerity of these individuals, who persist in formal affiliation with the Anglican or Anglican communities for personal, professional, or other pragmatic reasons, but in that case one can question the sincerity of the Catholic hierarchy which permits so much outright dissent within the Church. The problem with this line of thinking is that one often ends up believing that 'no one is really sincere but me.'

Finally, the idea that a particular papal teaching admits of few nuances has a number of historical difficulties. Consider Cantate Domino, or what has been taught over the centuries about usury, the marital embrace, or relations with Jewry. In this context, a correct understanding of Apostolicae Curae is subject to a consideration of the events of the succeeding years, including the participation of Old Catholic and Polish National Catholic bishops in Anglican ordinations, and the revision of the Catholic ordination rites in the 1960's. This certainly does not necessarily mean that a particular ordination is valid, but it certainly admits of a more nuanced understanding, as we saw with the case of Dr Leonard.

I am also constrained to point out that Mr Beeler's knowledge of Anglo-Catholicism is, to be kind, peripheral and anecdotal. He was, in fact, an Anglican some number of years ago, and has also been a Roman Catholic at some point, and is now a member of the Russian Orthodox communion, at least in theory. He clearly has some sympathy for us, and is very knowledgeable in certain areas, but his claim that he comes from Anglo-Catholicism is, at best, very much of a stretch.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Tangle-brained is precisely what I meant. I have asked Anglicans many times, lots of different Anglicans, what they mean by "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" when they recite the Creed. I have always had more answers than the number of people I have asked.

I long ago came to realise that their understanding was so "nuanced" as to be indistinguishable from total incomprehensibility.

Paul Goings said...

I have always had more answers than the number of people I have asked.

This hardly surprises me. Some of them might have meant exactly what you mean, and some almost exactly the opposite. But you could conduct the same experiment with Catholics and get equivalent results. I'm not sure what this says about Anglicans that it doesn't say about Catholics, other than that we're all tangle-brained to some extent.

Martial Artist said...

Although I tend to agree quite closely with John (the young fogey), I have known and exchanged views with self-identified Anglicans who consider themselves Catholic (and just as Catholic now as they were before Henry VII was even born), contra both John and Paul Goings.

I left the Episcopal Church in the Fall of 2008 after some 39 years, to enter RCIA with the expectation that I would seek reception into the Catholic Church. I probably represent a set of views very close to some segment of those who identify themselves as Anglo-Catholic. I think what the Ordinariate will provide may be a pathway for people like myself who are Catholic in sacramentality and doctrine, and seeking for an infallible (or final) teaching authority. The latter aspect would probably be best described as someone who has followed Protestantism to the point of realizing that St. Anselm of Canterbury is the model for a Christian, at least insofar as his motto credo ut intelligam applies. That certainly describes my experience.

I had actually twice prior to 2008 (ca. 1994 and ca. 1998) begun attending a local Catholic parish, in the latter case starting RCIA. Had it not been for several factors, including the banal, insipid contemporary music and hymnody, a la Haugen, I might well have found my way to the Catholic Church then.

Fortunately, on the third go, I prayed that God would tell me when to leave the Episcopal church and where to go (by that time there were only two choices—Catholicism or Orthodoxy). My prayers were answered almost immediately. I was indepedently directed to one parish, by three people unknown to each other, two of whom I had never met (they had read some comments concerning my need for transcendental music in the liturgy as a help to worship). The parish was the Dominican parish in Seattle, reasonably close to where we live. We were received on Pentecost this year.

To get to the point, I think the Ordinariate will ease the movement of Anglicans who are already Catholic, but (like myself) feel a need for truly sacred music in the liturgy, something that, in the years since Vatican II has become a rather large void in much of the Catholic Church. Hopefully, that will be one of the parts of the Anglican patrimony which can aid in the "reform of the reform" that appears to be one of the goals of the Holy Father. I know that it would have greatly eased the initial transition for my wife, a cradle Episcopalian.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

Robert Berard said...

Oh my, Hilary. The "evil twin" video must have been disconcerting. I am reminded of an old "Beyond the Fringe" routine in which a criminal is said to have borne a remarkable resemblance to the Archbishop of Canterbury but that, after several hours of "helping police with their inquiries", he no longer bore a resemblance to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Fr. T. said...

She does look like you, at first glance. But that smile---learned in acting school or drama class. There is a special and scornful name they all have for it---but it escapes me at the moment.

Young fogey emeritus said...

Re: what Anglicans teach about being in the church, I think their doctrine is or comes close to the branch theory, that all churches that claim apostolic succession collectively are the Catholic Church of the creeds; non-episcopal churches are seen more or less as Rome sees them. Hilary's right that Rome rejects the branch-theory claim of being fully in the church. Ecclesial community means Protestant denomination, a nice way of saying a group of Christians that's not a church.

In practice with Anglicans of course you'll get all kinds of opinions (just like with untaught Roman Catholics), among the commonest probably being 'it's all the same' (mainline Presbymetholuthopalianism) and 'what are we again?'

Not an official Anglican position, Anglo-Papalism, a subgroup of Anglo-Catholics who are would-be Roman Catholics thinking corporate reunion in their orders with Rome is possible, have claimed that importing Old Catholic orders in the past century makes Anglicans the same sacramentally as the Old Catholics, more than an ecclesial community. Rome says no, and given where Anglicanism is headed I don't think it'll ever change its mind, but it goes as far as conditionally ordaining some convert clergy who claim the Old Catholic succession like the late Mgr Graham Leonard, which is great. Anglo-Catholics should be acknowledged that way for the reasons I and Keith wrote. Which seems what the ordinariates will do (they're the closest Rome can get to what the Anglo-Papalists say they want); I understand the ex-Anglican bishops in them may be like traditional apostolic prothonotaries, monsignori with mitres. Of course nobody's demanding that or presuming he'll be ordained for that matter, but it would still be nice.

Young fogey emeritus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Young fogey emeritus said...

Grammar: 'Anglo-Papalism... has claimed...'

hyoomik said...

To Father T. (two comments or so above)
I think a good term for that kind of smile is "rictus"