Monday, January 18, 2016

One of the Episcopalians' sort of conservative bishops on the bond of communion

The Anglican Communion's a well-meant notion, part of the Episcopalians' lineage of bishops going back to the second St. Augustine converting the Anglo-Saxons. I'd say Anglicans sort of miss the Catholic Church so Canterbury and the Anglican Communion are a substitute, even though most Episcopalians think they're a denomination, not "the church" like Catholics and old-school Anglicans think of themselves (England: "the church" vs. Free Church "dissenters"). As Bishop Martins writes, without the tie to that saint (sent by the Pope) in Canterbury, Episcopalianism is just another boutique sect. So actually being kicked out of the Communion (which hasn't happened: a group that might not have authority recommended a time-out for them) would hurt their feelings. Also, they might think the connection gives their utterances a Pope-like authority. (Related: trying to buddy up with the Orthodox, who if anything are less "inclusive" of them theologically than we are. "Byzantine good, Western bad.") So it seems two things mark "the Anglican Way," an emotional tie to England and a real or imagined tie to the medieval church, the "episcopal" in "Episcopal" and the Prayer Book office as Benedictine, for example. Did the Anglican "reformers," the framers, think that way (they hated the medieval church including its monkery), or was it only the same as continental Reformed theology but with bishops because the King preferred it? Classic Anglicans a century later thought that way: the true church because it's both Catholic and Reformed, the medieval church "purified," backtracking a bit to claim legitimacy. As today's Episcopalians think they're purifying the old faith from sexism and homophobia while it remains the old faith. Catholicism teaches that if you have bishops but don't listen to what the past ones taught, what's the point? (Related to why we don't recognize Anglican orders: the framers clearly meant to break faith with the medieval church; Christ's saving work is in the past so no Mass.) Our doctrine is infallible thus "irreformable": even the Pope can't change it. "The bonds of (tough) love" are why the church occasionally excommunicates people, not Protestants occasionally meeting the Queen for tea.

By the way, happy first day of the Chair of Unity Octave (the feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Rome), started by two former Episcopalians serious about making the world Catholic (even when they were still Episcopal), not squishy ecumenism trying to put our doctrine on the bargaining table. (Me to all schismatics: if it's not doctrine, let's talk.) The papacy's about the "chair" ("see," from sedes), the office's authority, which is the church's, not about the man.

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