Thursday, September 25, 2014

Anglicanism, Orthodoxy, and my birth


Not Anglican/Orthodox dialogue, which like with us is dead, but:
  • Losing my Anglicanism: my religious start and conversion. How and why I eventually became Catholic. I remember 1967 model cars (we had Fords), "The Ed Sullivan Show," cigarette commercials, and when the Episcopal Church was externally conservative, having been born into it because my dad had left the church and married an Episcopalian about 10 years earlier. I remember the old Middle America fading away, becoming the '70s, and my dad wearing the kinds of suits and ties I wear. The character Kevin Harris on "Mad Men" and I are the same age. I was baptized Nov. 6, which is St. Leonard's Day so I should have been Leonard ("hey, Lenny"), like "Mr. Spock" (he's Jewish), not John, or, if I'd been Catholic to begin with, I should have been baptized four days after my birth and been Michael. A Michael was a second father to me, giving me the worldview you read on this blog; I don't think that's a coincidence. Be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. I'm surprised I've lasted this long. If I make it to 50 in a couple of years I'll drop the "Young" from "Fogey."
  • What Anglicanism really is: It could be said that the erstwhile Elizabethan Settlement, a church that could be both Catholic and Reformed, has been coming apart. The catalyst is not the Catholic or Evangelical wings that were a party to the original understanding, but rather it is the "broad church" or so-called "liberal" wing that has emerged and which some refer to as the deconstructionists. Well, the Catholic and Evangelical wings really separated after the Tractarians. Some Evangelicals blame the Catholic wing for the ascendancy of Broad Churchmanship, because the Tractarians and their successors played games with the interpretation of the Articles. Yes, I think before that, you had a consensus in Anglicanism: not Catholic vs. Protestant but both Catholic and Protestant. It said: we are the same church as when under Rome but better, "purified" by the "Reformation," the best branch of the three, Rome and the Orthodox being real churches but in grave error; the faith of Cranmer, Hooker, the Carolines, and I think the Tractarians. It used to be admirably conservative, taking Cranmer, et al., as its foundation, based on its understanding of the plain meaning of scripture, and being wary of Rome for alleged novelties; now it does whatever it wants. Accusing the Pope of innovation, then signing off on women priests is hypocritical.
  • Anglo-Catholicism came in two forms, either a rehashing of Gallicanism and Old Catholicism (Western Catholicism minus the Pope) or what its opponents feared it was, would-be Roman Catholics wanting to sell out the "Reformation" for the Pope. Neither were anything really to do with classic Anglicanism, which rejected what A-Cs believed as medieval accretions rightly washed away. So my disillusionment as a teenager was inevitable. I don't hate the Episcopal Church because of it. Est quod est.
  • Questioning the faithless.
  • "Historical analysis finds no clear evidence that Jesus existed." An unbeliever with a British name (he's from Ireland: Anglo-Irish?) writing for Zsa Zsa Huffington. Actually the historical evidence for Jesus is pretty good.
  • An Orthodox gentleman. Eternal memory, Fr. Paul Schneirla. My guess is after Msgr. Stephen Dutko who died a few years ago he was the second longest-serving American Orthodox priest. The Western Rite experiment is a small counterfeit Catholicism but his heart was in the right place; he didn't leave the church.
  • A Greek Catholic Jesuit critiques Orthodox divorce and remarriage practice, which doesn't make sense.
  • Michael Liccione: Most Latin Catholics don't understand why we are divided. Orthodox are divided on why we are divided. Catholics believe the only real difference is the Pope; Orthodox are all over the place, from agreeing with us that it's just about the Pope to insisting they are a completely different faith.

3 comments:

  1. Re: "What Anglicanism really is," when you can (if you haven't already), read the chapter on "Anglicanism" in Kinsman's *Reveries of A Hermit,* which is very (although not wholly) congruent with what you've written here.

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    1. Thanks for the reminder. Reading it now. Kinsman presents the old high churchmen more like how Anglo-Catholics depict them, rather than what I'm saying, gotten from Frs. Bob Hart and (Episcopal) Jonathan Mitchican (Protestants with a difference: Catholic order and the fathers).

      He gets the start of the Oxford Movement wrong by a year (it was 1833, not 1832) and sort of echoes but doesn't point out something I've written: a movement that started out by defending the Established Church's divine claims vs. an effect of Catholic emancipation (Parliament: the Irish don't go to our church so let's pull the plug on four dioceses; logical) ended up imitating the Catholic Church and even wanting to join on their own corporate terms.

      "Fastidiousness" ("the superciliousness of schism": fits the Orthodox, particular converts, to a tee)? Yessir. And: "Of Anglo-Catholicism, there are only two special criticisms. First, from an Anglican standpoint, it is not really Anglicanism: and second, from a Catholic standpoint, it is not really Catholicism." Just so. "Yet, looked at from a purely Anglican environment, Anglo-Catholics have a case." Then and now. As he explains, the Prayer Book formularies are deliberately contradictory. For giving Communion, translate the Catholic words, then tack on Zwinglian ones to cancel that out, or the book's "Or this:" options... high, low, and since the "Enlightenment," broad, "take your pick." (Something he doesn't go into: English Protestants lost their shit at the "Enlightenment"; since then, Anglicanism's been a shell church even by Protestant standards of belief; the Sixties just made it more obvious.) So the liberal high-church people, the new Anglo-Catholics, even though it's not really Anglicanism, more of a fantasy liberal Catholicism minus the Pope (meaning, minus church infallibility), make sense in Anglican terms, but not ours. (Liberal high church: The trappings of Catholicism, including the new Anglo-Catholics' credal orthodoxy, are lots of fun — they love our Mass; Catholic liberals don't — but the church is fallible thus ultimately not necessary: Protestant.)

      As an Episcopal kid I felt differently, not knowing the background, taking all the Catholic stuff around me naturally at face value. So, for example, I just assumed a priest who calls himself Fr. Smith, crosses himself, and wears a chasuble is an Anglo-Catholic against Modernism including women's ordination! (In England ONLY A-C priests were "Father." Long not so anymore among Episcopalians.) Finding out otherwise felt like a punch in the gut. I get it now. No hard feelings.

      That and, in the disaster zone that was Joisey and Philly Novus Ordo in the '80s, for example, a convoluted but sort of logical argument (bad premise but fun logic from it) that you are really being a good Roman Catholic by being or remaining in a diocese and parish of the Episcopal Church (the Dutch touch and misreading Vatican II on ecumenism help), so you can have traditional liturgy, etc., plus the close fellowship of an Anglo-Catholic congregation (people with a similar unusual interest, natural friends), were what the few people like me wanted to hear.

      "The house always wins"; the truth comes out; God is extremely patient and kind; praise him.

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    2. And it IS Protestant private judgment with Roman Catholic trappings, even when it's well-meant, otherwise agreeing with us. Much like Stuart Koehl and the few other "Orthodox in communion with Rome": dissenters in Catholicism who proudly look Orthodox but are really neither Catholic nor Orthodox. Logical conclusions: there really is no church or the true church is gnosticism, a kind of freemasonry; the magisterium and Orthodox authority are for muggles. Not to be confused with the unlatinized who ARE good Catholics. Stuart's dangerous because he superficially resembles them.

      Even when it's orthodox and high, fake religion's always self-centered.

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