Saturday, February 20, 2016

Francis vs. Trump, gay priests, the truth about Anglicanism, and liturgical English

There was a recent news story that Pope Francis blurted out something like Trump is un-Christian and that building a border wall with Mexico would be, I think on his recent trip there. I understand the Holy See did damage control, explaining that of course the Pope doesn't have the authority to tell Catholics who to vote for. I knew that. His job is only to defend doctrine as part of preaching the gospel. He can no more tell me who to vote for than I can write checks for my workplace. Also, Holy Father, illegal immigration is theft from a country's citizens. Yes, share, but with one's fellow citizens. Committing mass suicide is not part of our faith. A number of people have posted pictures of the impressive wall around most of the Vatican, which some say a previous Pope built to keep out Mohammedan raiders. Argentina has no illegal-immigration or shooting, raping Mohammedan "refugee" problems. Hypocrite. Because the Catholic faith is not about devotion to the person and whims of the Pope, I can say that. Francis is a jerk but his reign is a cakewalk compared to John Paul II's because he hasn't undone the achievements of Benedict XVI, most important the reformed English Novus Ordo and second the lifting of all bans on my Mass. Under John Paul II people like me were told to throw that away and become charismatics. Also: so you read his various remarks, it adds up to what the secular world dictates to us so they love him, and it's contradictory. So Catholics can use contraception for some things, "who am I to judge?" and yet the Pope can order me who to vote for, living down to Protestants' worst fears. No.

Steve Loftus speaks for me:
My brothers and sisters in Christ: Do not abandon your faith. Do not abandon our Holy Mother, the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Do not flirt with sedevacantism, or the Orthodox, who are schismatic. Abandon these monsters in clerical clothing but do not abandon our Mother. Fight, friends. We were born for this!
This is ugly but Francis asked for it:
Rather than bitching about Trump and walls along the border, the Pope should work on a way to keep priests from molesting alter [sic] boys.
It's anti-Catholic crap but a lot of priests are losers and/or gay. I don't think MOST priests are gay; that's statistically impossible as gays are only 3% maximum of the population. But my guess is the percentage is slightly higher among Roman Rite priests (and in America, among all Catholic priests). Perfect place to hide and party behind closed doors, men and only men, respected in the community and nobody asks why you never got married. Some jobs are like that: the military and the sea (including guys on oil rigs), for example. You'll always have a gay element there. So you had these lonely gay priests and then the Sixties telling them to let it all hang out; a perfect storm as these men hit on teenagers. Some hit on me when I was in my 20s. The church says it's a sin but of course our Protestant hosts blame the church. Teachers do the underage thing more but guess what? Teaching is a liberal profession so they get away with it.
Catholic friend: Lots of other professions have losers galore. I have met too many of them to let some nasty-assed bigot get away with crap such as this. Oh and it is not statistically impossible for the majority of Catholic priests to be gay. Not saying it is so, mind you. 3% max may be true; then again may be not. I have yet to see good science on the %s.
In order for most priests to be gay, most Catholic men would have to be. If most American priests were, there wouldn't have been nearly enough priests for the parishes in Cardinal Spellman's church. Also, to give credit where it's due, there are holy, orthodox gay priests who try to be chaste. A modern example is the Anglo-Catholic alumnus (Anglo-Catholic priests often are gay) Fr. John Jay Hughes, now a retired priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He's upfront about being bisexual and has never used it to attack the teachings of the church.
Archbishop Peter Robinson: I seem to recall some years ago the comment that in the CofE about 5% of the clergy were gay, which is about double the national average. However, the most prominent case of molestation we had in the 1980s was a heterosexual priest who had a liking for 14-16-year-old girls. Most of the gay clergy kept it beneath the radar and stayed in dioceses where they would be ignored, e.g. Southwark. I am the zero-tolerence type, so I am not going to argue that the bishops should not have their bells rung for ignoring credible reports of abuse. The woolly part is getting reports passed up to Bishop level. I am lucky in that I don't have a Curia, so things come straight to me. If a report reaches me, it is acted upon.
Some years ago, I was blowing the froth of a couple with an RC priest I knew in the Archdiocese of Southwark, and his candid estimate was 5% to 10%. The two of us reckoned there were, percentage-wise, fewer gay priests in the RC Archdiocese than in the Anglican Diocese.
So my hunch was right. A minority of priests, Catholic and Anglican, but about double or even triple the population's proportion.
You get about the same demographic amongst men in other "caring professions." The problems only start when you have too many of them in a certain area. There were a couple of deaneries in the London area archdeacons used to sigh over.
Like how a minority of nurses are men but that minority is very gay. I know a straight one. The Episcopal priesthood seems to be becoming the domain of middle-aged women and gay men.
That depends where you are. Dioceses like Pennsylvania (the six counties around Philly) have always attracted a disproportionate number of gays and über-libs. Washington AC-DC and Los Angeles have the same tendency. AZ or KS will be very different.
I'll bet those London deaneries were spike's spikes, making a big show of wanting to be Catholic. Like St. Silas, Kentish Town, still C of E and now having gay weddings.
Around King's Cross was pretty noticeable, also Dulwich and a couple of others. Elsewhere, especially places like Clapham were the Evangelicals dominated — nary a one.
A lot of my early formation was in Missouri, which explains my conservatism and non-Novus-ness. It was a time warp, in but not of the '70s. Moving to New Jersey I felt like Episcopalianism sucker-punched me.
I grew in the Diocese of Lincoln, which was mainly High but not Anglo-Catholic, and generally used the 1662/28 for everything except Communion were the early Alternative Services were the rule. The clergy were mainly married men with 2 to 5 kids. Most of Ripon, and all of Sodor and Man were also conservative, so very liberal Southwark was a shock.
West Missouri was by no stretch Anglo-Catholic but I got the benefit of classic Anglicanism high-churchified American style since the '30s as you explain, plus essentially the cultural '50s. Then I lived in Spong's Diocese of Newark: Modernism, and the priests in chasubles, crossing themselves, and going by Father turned out to not really be A-Cs. Saw a sound A-C parish, pre-Vatican II, as the old rector had left it, but it too turned in a few years (the gay incumbent tried to put the moves on me).
Actually, the old BBC vicar view of the Church of England held fairly true when I was a kid — Churchmanship was an urban thing, a bit like the way RCs have religious order parishes, conservative parishes, and liberal parishes in urban areas. Lincoln leaned a bit catholic, so chasubles and parish communion was the order of the day. Sodor and Man was low-leaning, so choir habit and Matins except for the one parish in Douglas. I think 1970-1990 was a period where all churchmanships in the Church of England tended to pull towards the middle.
Sure, Novus Ordo-fication and ecumenism, which created the 1979 U.S. Book of Common Prayer. My origins are choir habit and Morning Prayer with the occasional chasuble at the eastward-facing 8 o'clock or the alternating 10 o'clock Communion (U.S. 1928 Prayer Book). Fr. Wetherell's All Saints, Orange, NJ, was a pre-Vatican II Italian-looking church stuffed into a little late-1800s Protestant Episcopal building, altars, statues, votive candles, confessionals, you name it; my Russians-in-Hagia Sophia experience.

"Prayer Book Catholicism":
My home parish was PBC. In the 1920s they had 8am Communion; 10:30am Morning Prayer; 12noon Sung Communion; 6:30pm Evensong on Sundays; 10am MP and 5pm Evening Prayer on weekdays and 8am Communion on Wednesdays and Holydays. Sunday morning MP gradually lost ground to the Sung Communion so that the two merged in the late 1930s, and then the MP element disappeared at the end of the 1960s. It outed itself as "catholic" because Saturday after EP was the appointed time for Confessions, and the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in an aumbry in the side chapel.

Anglo-Catholicism and I had a long flirtation when I was in my twenties, but I never found it completely convincing. I can see High Church Protestant (either Anglican or Lutheran) or Roman Catholic as positions with integrity, but not so much Anglo-Catholicism.
I think I understand but I'm interested in your explanation why you don't think A-Cism works. I'm now convinced Anglicanism is Reformed theology in the early and medieval church's wrapper, its structure; it's not Catholicism minus the Pope, let alone Anglo-Papalism. But I credit A-Cism for preserving pre-Vatican II Catholicism for me, and in a beautiful English I still use.
Essentially correct, but I would be a bit cautious about saying Reformed, more like Phillippist, or the Protestant understanding of Jerome and Augustine. Anglicanism historically is to the right of the Reformed and the left of Lutheranism. I tend to be a "Prayer Book Churchman" so I don't have a fit about the BCPs liturgical tradition or the Articles of Religion's theology. Historically a via media between Lutheranism and Calvinism. The Tractarians and Anglo-Catholics tried to move the via media to the right, and let the Liberals back in through the back door.
What's interesting is although Anglicanism and Lutheranism seem like high-church twins, Lutheranism was little to do with Anglicanism. Lutheranism ended up accidentally quasi-Catholic because Luther wasn't consistent, he was willing to bait and switch keeping Catholic trappings, and the Philippists tried to reach an understanding with the church. William Tighe places the Anglicans in the Reformed camp (as did Michael Davies) but not Calvinist, so yes, to the right of Calvin but to the left of the Lutherans.
Lutheranism is basically a product of 1520 to 1545, and Anglicanism of 1545 to 1575, mainly 1559–1571. They did not really have to make terms with one another until German George came over in 1715. The first major contacts were the Anglo-Prussian Bishopric, and the CofE/CofSwe agreement of 1911.
Catholic friend: Tractarians move to the right of Calvinism . . . then this means toward Lutheranism or what Lutheranism originally was? I thought that the Tractarians (and Anglo-Catholics) tried to move the C of E toward more Catholic position without being Catholic or reconciling with Rome, with the exception of some of them (e.g., Manning, and Newman)?
Except the old high churchmen and the Tractarians insisted on the episcopate, claiming that continuity with Catholicism; the Lutherans don't.
Archbishop: The Tractarians tried to modify the via media from being between Luther and Calvin to being between Rome and Protestantism, so they wanted to end up to the right of Luther. Newman and Manning did not have High Church backgrounds which may have been a factor in their 'verting, as they did not get the old High Church appeal to the Bible understood in the light of the Creeds and the Early Fathers. Both seem to move from the Infallible Bible to the Infallible Church (and in Manning's case to a fairly unsophisticated Ultramontanism).
The infallible church is what I'd bet my life on. I thought the old high churchmen saw themselves as the via media between Rome and Geneva, having the best of both and thus at least implicitly the true church, both Catholic and Reformed.
I think it is probably fairer to say Catholic in organisation, and mildly Reformed in doctrine.
That's exactly what I meant.
OK. The Old High Churchmen and the Tractarians did not see the Church in different terms, but they did fit the pieces together differently. The OHCs were a product of the Augustan Age, sober, rationalistic, dutiful and even a bit dull; the Tractarians were products of Romanticism and often attracted by the things the OHCs were most cautious about — sisterhoods, celibacy, a more "in-your-face" sacramentalism. Folks like Henry of Exeter (1777–1869), Horatio Powys (1799–1877) and George Denison (1802–1887) had a foot in both camps, and very often irritated everyone by being that way.

The old Evangelicals differed from the Old High Churchmen mainly by being a bit more Calvinistic in terms of Predestination, and by not being so reserved. The theological battles do not really start until after 1837 with the result that the Evangelicals become more Protestant — in the negative sense.
Right, Archbishop, yet I know that the early A-Cs weren't ritualists; that was the generation after them, both those pushing a claim AGAINST Rome (fellows like Grafton in the USA) and those furtively trying to "reconcile with honor" with it as F.G. Lee was doing, exactly what the Protestant Anglicans were afraid the A-Cs were doing.
The Tractarians did push the envelope very slightly on ceremonial, but not enough to produce a really strong reaction except in the Oxford hothouse. In the main, the original idea was to promote the Caroline tradition, rather than innovate beyond it.
Back to liturgical English:
Catholic friend: . . . a beautifully rendered "liturgical" English that might have made the Novus Ordo Missae quite tolerable without all the extra hijinks thrown in. Come to think of it, the motivation towards showmanship and hijinks would seem to me to be unlikely when the celebrant/presider speaks in liturgical English.
The achievement of Benedict XVI. It's orthodox and has the same cadence as the old BCP.
The current Roman Missal English translation: accurate, acceptable, but not beautifully rendered liturgical English. Not at all like the Coverdale Psalter or translation of the Roman Canon.
The new English Roman Missal doesn't have the heft of our culture behind it, no sentimental value (I have a theory on that), but it does have the old Prayer Book's cadence; it's a true liturgical English, a vast improvement that's also more orthodox. I don't think Catholics care about liturgical English. The only English they're attached to are the prayers of the Rosary. Because our people know the liturgy isn't really in English, as that's their history. Also, I use Coverdale but, like Cranmer, whom I don't use, he was a rank heretic.
Archbishop: On the odd occasions I end up at a Roman Mass I can now get through without major problems as the Credo, etc., are close enough to the BCP for me to be able to bluff my way through.
As you know, the few times a year I'm at an English Mass I just use the old BCP Gloria and Creed, genuflecting at "And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary."


  1. This is a nice - cogent, nuanced & amicable - discussion. I might add two things. First, concerning "I would be a bit cautious about saying Reformed, more like Phillippist, or the Protestant understanding of Jerome and Augustine. Anglicanism historically is to the right of the Reformed and the left of Lutheranism;" I can see this, especially if one take the word "historically" in a broad sense. If one is speaking of "Anglicanism" from 1559 to ca. 1625, one could say that it is left of Wittenberg ("Lutheranism," generally speaking), right of Zurich ("the Reformed" in general, or, otherwise, the dominant Reformed position in Switzerland, Germany, Poland and Hungary) and, with respect to Geneva (the strain of Reformed Christianity which held to Calvin's [or Beza's] strong and particular views about the sacraments, esp. the Lord's Supper, Church Polity [presbyterianism], and double predestination, and which dominated the Reformed of France, the Netherlands, and Scotland), sometimes to its right, sometimes [and more often in that period] to its left. The word "Phillipist" usually refers to those Lutherans who sought rapprochement with the Reformed on the basis of Calvin's sacramental views; Melanchthon seemed to be moving in that direction at the tie of his death in 1560, although he never quite reached that point - later "Philippists" went over to the Reformed i the face of the Lutheran reaction against Philippism.

    Second, a few Elizabethan divines who disliked one or another features of the dominant Reformed/Calvinist thought in the Church of England in the last two decades of Elizabeth I's reign (the strongly Calvinist view of predestination, or the more-Zurich-than-Geneva predominant views of the Lord's Supper) tended to appeal to the works and views of "Phillippist" Lutheran divines such as the Danish Niels Hemmingsen in support of their own "higher" views. Lancelot Andrewes certainly did this in his younger years, but he, like others, moved away from this and subsequently pitched his appeal to the Church Fathers in general, rather than to Lutherans.

  2. Pope Francis is driving us all crazy with his off-hand remarks to the press, but otherwise he leaves us alone and let's us be Catholic. Our parish is have extra Holy Hours and Confession in honor of the Year of Mercy, which I really appreciate.

    1. Yes, that is how I feel too. I wish he would be more circumspect during plane flights, but I don't have any other beefs.

  3. Argentina definitely does have illegal immigration from Bolivia and other crap-tier South American countries


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