Friday, July 18, 2014

Conversation on Orthodoxy and Anglicanism

From MCJ. The thread's starting post: the Russian Orthodox Church's usual Catholic reaction to the news from the Church of England on women bishops.

The Anglicans and the West generally don’t take the Orthodox seriously; if the Anglicans did, they wouldn’t have done this. Publicly they’ll say something politely British about continuing ecumenical talks; privately they’ll make a Boris and Natasha joke (= Polish joke) and “carry on” as they are.

Academic blather about how the changes were inspired by the East notwithstanding, Catholics did the same inventing the Novus Ordo; damaging but not a dealbreaker.

Interesting point: dominic1955 thinks the Orthodox never really thought about recognizing the Anglicans (same reason really as the official Catholic Church) but entertained them when it was politically opportune, when Britain was top dog in the world.

A reader:
Well, and the Russians had a long-standing policy of trying to ally with the English-speaking world to counterbalance first the French and then the Germans. Much like the Portuguese alliance with England against Spain in the 16th through the 18th century (which was so important to England that even at the height of the Reformation the Portuguese were allowed to publicly celebrate Mass for English Catholics in London).

The Russians had a good working relationship with the United States in the 19th century, going so far as to actively dissuade the English & French from recognizing the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The Russian Navy undertook some limited actions to prevent Confederate blockade running in both the Atlantic and off the Pacific coast of Mexico. A little known bit of history. The efforts by the Russians to cultivate the Anglosphere were part of what moved them to sell Alaska to the US after the Civil War. Fear of France and then after the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War, fear of Germany, was a huge motivator.
Got to give the tiny Anglo-Orthodox subgroup (of Anglo-Catholics? the Byzantinophile counterpart of Anglo-Papalists) credit: they, at least their organization, put their money where their mouth was. (As did the prime movers of both Forward in Faith and St. Clement's, Philadelphia: the British ordinariate and a Tridentine quasi-parish, respectively.) After the C of E started having women priests, they disbanded and converted. Easier when the church you believe in is not Novus. Practically speaking, Anglo-Papalists had to wait for the turnaround, a Catholic revival, to slowly start under John Paul II and pick up steam under Benedict, even though our doctrine clearly tells them what to do. As John Zmirak writes, they needed the ordinariate and Summorum Pontificum to protect them from our Modernists.
Outside of the Ordin(ari)ate, which creamed off the most orthodox and zealous Anglicans (orthodox and zealous classic Anglo-Catholics; of course orthodox and zealous Evangelicals, and the New Anglo-Catholics, aren't interested) and set them up in a safe place where the Catholic bishops couldn't wreck their liturgy, the Catholic Church in England is doing little better than the Anglicans - and only because Catholic immigrants keep coming from healthier countries such as Poland.
They're in because they already believed in the faith and the church - they asked to come in - and because we screwed up with Vatican II and they will help us out of it. Not an ecumenical rescue.

1 comment:

  1. From about 1920-1960 Anglicans and Orthodox were quite close, and there was a possibility that Orthodox might recognise Anglican orders. I suspect that the reason for this closeness was that that period was the height of Anglo-Catholicism, and after the Bolshevik revolution some Russians ended up in exile in England (I met some, like Nicolas Zernov). At that time there was a certain amount of mutual influence. But after 1960 or thereabouts Anglo-Catholic influence waned rapidly, and other faces of Anglicanism came to the fore, and the Orthodox concluded that it was impossible to determine what Anglicans, as Anglicans, actually believed, and so the question of a possible recognition of Anglican orders faded away, and it was the AngloCatholics who thought that was important. But the dominant model of ministry among Anglicans these days is a commercial one -- bishops as CEOs, priests as branch managers, deacons? what on earth are they? and of course a woman can be a CEO or a branch manager. -- why not?

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