Friday, October 10, 2014

Religious reminiscing



From the MCJ:
The Episcopal parish I grew up in was a pretty liberal place. The rector there backed the homosexuals long before anybody else in the Episcopal Church did, which is actually pretty impressive. His ordained wife, whose job title was, for obvious reasons, “associate rector,” was even more liberal than he was as well as one of the worst preachers whose sermons I ever had the misfortune to have to sit through. Anyway, my doubts about my church, as well as the whole Anglican enterprise, began rather early in my life.
You got the new Episcopalianism full blast early on; as a kid I got the benefit of ’50s-style middle-of-the-road (we had "Solemn High Morning Prayer," Matins, as the main service some weeks, with eastward-facing 8 o'clock Communion as an option every Sunday: early Low Mass!), in the ’70s, until being culture-shocked by a move to northern New Jersey, Bishop Spong’s domain: women priests (yikes, we’re Protestants?!) and Teh Gay (eww!). Finding out it’s about more than the new Prayer Book. And that high church didn’t necessarily mean Anglo-Catholic. It’s often ecumenical and multicultural posing from the ’60s. I didn’t find out most Anglo-Catholics are gay until my late teens.
So my dream of one day becoming a lesbian is back on the table? SWEET.
True story: there are creeps who take the desperate male-feminist game to the next level, putting on dresses, going to feminist folk-fest campouts, and trying their luck as trans lesbians. Those girls, understandably upset, had to fall back on reality as in biology to ban these poseurs.
Although he denies doing so, Justin Welby just implicitly admitted that the Lambeth Conference, the single most important meeting in the Anglican tradition, is dead.
The conference only dates from 1867 and not all Anglican bishops went to it, so this isn’t a huge deal like the Pope excommunicating a bishop. And what about before 1867? What about the Non-Jurors, who didn’t accept the current king?
You forgot the most important event, having tea with the Queen.
I would have been a Loyalist in 1776. The rebels didn’t have a case; George III was wronged. Lived in the mother country. I’m enough of a romantic to agree with the Holy See historically, hoping that its anointed Christian sovereign and its state church with its coped and mitred bishops would come back to the Catholic family. (Lady deacons put paid to all that.)

That said, now that the Queen has a woman priest as one of her chaplains, has signed off on gay marriage (constitutionally she had no choice), and is a Presbyterian in Scotland anyway, I wonder if tea with her matters that much. But I do like the royals; once was next to Prince Charles and Camilla. If they’d turned to their left I would have met them.
Before the first Lambeth Conference, you were an "Anglican" church if the Archbishop of Canterbury thought you were.
That’s how it works.

But I can see this form of the British Empire breaking up, with liberal high-church whites and the Third World Evangelicals forming separate denominations. It may be that the existence of the English Evos, in a state church, is keeping these mismatched groups together. So if the C of E’s disestablished (Newman didn’t want that: at least it was Christian and was good for the English), the Anglican Communion’s history.
The problem with Anglicanism has always been the lack of Authority to define definitely what Anglicanism and being an Anglican, means and the circumstances under which one ceases to be an Anglican. The idea of “living together in tension” of competing and often contradictory theological, moral, liturgical and polity has lead inevitably to the only possible conclusion: it is a “Communion” without the “union”, and it consists of small disparate groups, and disparate individuals, even within the small gorups who call themselves Anglicans (or Episcopalians or whatever other title they have conferred upon themselves in other places) and no one can define what an “Anglican” is, if they ever were able to. This became a real problem for ARCIC and the reason why it finally collapsed: when everything got boiled down, and agreement on anything was sought, there was no one on the Anglican side who could speak or commit for Anglicanism as a whole. Each member of the Anglican delegation could only speak and agree for himself and commit only on his behalf.

Actually, the problem isn’t that Anglican Authority isn’t there. Authority has been there all along. But the problem is that too many Archbishops of Canterbury have gutlessly refused to use it.
Frederick Joseph Kinsman, the Episcopal bishop of Delaware who became a Catholic layman around 1919, described it well, I think in a talk at Notre Dame, in his book Reveries of a Hermit. While the Anglican formularies are credally orthodox, their deliberate ambiguity (lame attempt to sucker Catholics into the new church) actually makes the liberal, skeptical position the logical Anglican one, so you’re right, dialogue with the Catholic Church is a waste of time. They’re funny Congregationalists, with royal and medieval trappings. Because there are conservative congregations, it takes a while to figure that out if you’re born into it. I don’t think the Archbishop of Canterbury has any authority even in the Province of York, let alone the Episcopal Church. And because of what I described, he’s not interested in enforcing conservative doctrine; that would make a scene. Religion in England isn’t revealed by God; it’s whatever the government tolerates. No wonder next to no English people still go to church.

From ocnet:

Steubenville is the Jerusalem of Catholic campus ministry. And by that, I mean the ideal to strive for at all costs. They're good kids, but they get very defensive if you criticize how they approach liturgy.
I dunno. In the '70s the Catholic liberals who took over campus ministry liked the charismatics well enough, because the charismatic way came from Pentecostal Protestantism (Pentecostals, dating from about 1906, think they're the true church; charismatics are the ecumenical version) back when ecumenism was cool, so it was low-church, anti-traditional. So, sure, then and in the '80s (my last run-ins with campus ministry) there was some crossover. But... the charismatics were based on conservative Protestantism so credal orthodoxy and no hanky-panky, plus they started being more Catholic in the late '80s, loving Mary and exposition; the libcaths here eventually broke up with them. (Got kicked off my old college campus.)

But sure, from what I remember, both kinds get defensive if you criticize their low churchmanship. "You want a church that no longer exists! Be open to the Spirit! Obey! Or are you outside the church?" Yeah, being Catholic in '80s America stunk.

Since Pope Benedict fixed the new Mass, now I just ignore them both even if I have to worship with them. They're dying out anyway, though around here the charismatics are the other Catholics who still go to Mass besides high-church conservatives (the new Mass done decently and in order; "reform of the reform") and traditionalists (let's act liturgically, etc. as if Vatican II didn't happen). Kids who don't believe don't become libcaths; they become lapsed or ex-Catholics. Locally two things did in the charismatics: cult-like activity in a "covenant community" and the priestly gay underage sex scandal (no perps among the charismatics; the monsignor in charge of the charismatics helped in the coverup).

The remaining young Massgoers are sound. Steubenville recently has had ... our Mass:

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