Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oxford Movement anniversary

Anglican past, Catholic future:
  • 177 years ago today. Fr H reminds me that an Oxford don’s sermon protesting the British state suppressing some Irish dioceses (interestingly thanks to Roman Catholic emancipation — given how the English treated them, unsurprisingly Anglicanism by force never caught on with the Irish; the state sensibly wasn’t going to keep paying for churches nobody went to) started something that soon got together with some old high churchmen (king and establishment, hurrah) and the Romantic movement reacting to the Industrial Revolution (medieval nostalgia such as the Gothic Revival in architecture) and ended up being genuine imitation Roman Catholics, some of them sincere as the ordinariates will show in a few years. (Something that began as partly a reaction against pro-Catholic legislation ended up copying the Catholic Church.) Keble was trying to say the church gets its authority from God so it trumps the state, better than the old high churchmen whose Erastianism looked like our one-true-church claim but really wasn’t (the trouble with dissent was it was seditious not untrue): fallible or infallible church?
  • ‘Some of them sincere as the ordinariates will show in a few years.’ But if they’re sincere, why didn’t they convert years ago or why don’t they right now? As Arturo will tell you, religion isn’t abstract but local so don’t underestimate factors ‘on the ground’ such as remaining liberals controlling the local RC scene who don’t want a bunch of embarrassing Catholics coming in (‘misogynists and homophobes!’) — liberals whom Damian Thompson calls ‘the magic circle’ (the British version of AmChurch), which Pope Benedict is slowly clearing away. That’s why the converts, and the Pope, will need the ordinariates.
  • Bishop Barnes on the coming ordinariates.
  • 440 years ago today St Pius V codified the Tridentine Mass, really only a slight edit of the late-mediæval missal in Rome. Contrary to myth and the late Fr DePauw’s argument it was tweaked many times since by the church authorities, but yes, a wholesale rewrite would have been, well, anathema. Rome like the East historically runs largely on custom.

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