Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fr C’s take on high, low and broad churchmanship among Roman Catholics
But of course the old churchmanship wars were more pronounced among Anglicans with would-be Roman Catholics and ‘Western Orthodox’ (both: an appeal to an ancient infallible church) on one side and Evangelical Protestants on the other (an English, Australian and Third World phenom, not American: Episcopalians of that persuasion just left for another denomination) with middle-of-the-road mild Protestants (old majority) and the liberals (majority now) in the middle. Like four separate churches under the artificial big tent of establishment in England. A difference has been that you were likelier right after Vatican II to find nice old-fashioned liturgics among the Anglicans (when a Much Younger Fogey appeared on the scene as a kid, taking the high trappings at face value) among several versions (lots of liberals dress up) except the Evangelicals.

Catholic: ordinariates; bye. Central: used to be the majority; dying off. Evangelical: in irreligious England and Australia, and in the Third World, sticking around in their denom for now. Liberal: running the denom in white countries but dying out too.

Now in Fr C’s small Continuing churches it’s a little different. They’ve rewritten the doctrine with something Orthodox-like, the Affirmation of St Louis, replacing the Articles; the Evangelicals and liberals aren’t there. More like ‘Western Orthodox’ to old high middle-of-the-road (Bob Hart’s mild Protestantism).

I say ‘churchmanships among Roman Catholics’ not ‘Roman Catholic churchmanships’ because there’s only one Roman Catholicism, the magisterium, with which you may include lots of immemorial custom, just like with the Orthodox, as trads do. With Hilary I’ll agree that trads don’t fit on a scale; either you’re a trad or not. But the neocaths aren’t heretics.

Then there are Orthodox and Greek Catholic churchmanships!

Orthodox high: Russia including ROCOR, and other Old Calendar churches (the ones in schism, Old Calendarists, are like their SSPX and sedes). Convert Antioch. Low? Fr Eusebios Stephanou and his charismatic Greek-American Orthodoxy? Liturgically low: St Vladimir’s Seminary and Schmemann fans, New Skete (sui generis: former Roman Catholics’ ’60s monastic experiment that passed through Greek Catholicism). Middle: GOA, OCA, ethnic Antioch. Ethnic, easygoing, Catholicky. Liberal: Elisabeth Behr Sigel, Valerie Karras, Orthodox in Finland (tiny minority in Protestant countries who believe in women’s ordination or homosexuality, far removed from the Greek and Russian rank and file; not to be confused with untaught or non-churchgoing Orthodox). Liturgically it’s all high compared to the modern West.

Greek Catholic: high would be the OicwRs and what I’ve called the high-church minority (unlike the OicwRs they support the magisterium), the ones who do what Rome wants liturgically (be just like the Orthodox). And the Melkites. Low? Nah. Middle: the ethnic rank and file, sort of Byzantine high Novus. Liberal: same deal as with the Orthodox, only they’ve essentially joined the Novus mainstream; they could have a convention in my bathroom.

With our cousins the Lutherans (more Catholic than most people think; ironic because of Luther’s place in history) you have Lutho-Catholics (I like the Missouri Synod ones; check out Grace Lutheran Church, Tulsa, on YouTube), the ones who want to blend into American evangelicalism (in short the Missouri Synod’s churchmanship war) and then you have the liberal denoms, ELCA (basically Episcopalians) and the churches in most of the old country (Germany and the Scandies).

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