Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Henrician church: no, thanks

Some Anglicans, official and not (some Continuers), point to the Henrician Church of England as an example of how to be. Of course that strikes me as absurd as idealizing the same thing 400 years later, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, a schismatic puppet started and controlled by the government, its reason to exist. (Ironically, thanks to its isolation, it stayed Tridentine longer than the official church; the Communists didn’t care as long as it’s not under Rome and does what the government tells it to.) Reminds me of Bill Tighe’s remark, ‘the Established Church of Never-Never Land’, and of liberal high-church Anglicanism generally, which goes back at least to the ’20s (alongside our close cuz, old-school Tridentine papalist Anglo-Catholicism) or even to the original Catholic Modernists (Evelyn Underhill and her nominally Catholic friend Baron von Hügel), and which in its original form he describes as Modernism in Sarum vestments.

Apparently the theological war in the Continuum is between non-papal semi-Catholics (who want to be like the Henrician sect or the Union of Scranton Old Catholics today), much like the ’50s American biretta belt, who think ‘Anglicanism’ is the first seven ecumenical councils, the pre-‘Reformation’ consensus (which is serviceable; you more or less get what Catholicism says) and the Affirmation of St Louis, and the ‘reformed Catholics’/high-church classical Protestants, who base their theology on their fairly faithful reading of the English ‘Reformation’: the anti-Catholic Articles of Religion (Articles XIX and XXI explain Episcopalianism: fallible, fungible church) and the early Anglican divines such as Hooker and Jewel. ‘Hooker minus the Erastianism’ as one such once said to me. The second faction interestingly is liturgically higher than historical classical Anglicans/old high churchmen were: altars and chasubles, like the Henricians and like the other faction of Continuers. Even the Reformed Episcopal Church (conservative late-1800s breakaway from the Episcopalians) is in on the high-churchifying Continuing action now, going against its original Protestant reason to exist.

Anybody coming closer to the church is a good thing, and that goes for our other cousins, liberal high church (they believe the creeds and more or less the same thing as us about the sacraments, and unlike Catholic liberals they like our trad liturgies, but it’s all on their terms, not the church’s, because they think women clergy and homosexuality are self-evident truths), too, as it did for evangelicals becoming Orthodox 20 years ago, but schism and the Articles are dead ends.

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