Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Anglican-RC official dialogue agrees on Mary (more)
The trouble with such statements is that many British, North American and Antipodean Anglicans aren’t Anglo-Catholics who positively believe in such — most, including the kind who usually are involved in these official ecumenical projects, are Broad Churchmen/liberal Protestants and so believe in nothing therefore everything. When the latter say ‘yes’ to these beliefs they probably really mean ‘yeah, man, whatever floats your boat’ (or however academics say it when they’re being condescending) not ‘we like you hold that these are true’.

There are also non-liberal sincere Christians among Anglicans who’d say something similar but not patronizing like ‘I can accept that as an opinion but not as required doctrine’ — like my Central Church friends who are high-church for Protestants but still Protestants.

Then in England and Australia there are the semi-Calvinist Evangelical Anglicans — Low Churchmen, thoroughgoing Protestants — who reject these outright as heretical because they’re not spelt out in scripture.

I’m actually moderate about the Marian cultus and those of the saints — a Catholic is required to believe certain things but not required to practise the devotions about them (but does have to accept them in principle). Everything about Our Lady ultimately comes down to one theological point as defined at the Council of Ephesus, that as Jesus is true God and true man and Mary gave birth to the whole Christ, not just ‘the human part’ (he is fully human, not just part), she is the Mother of God, a dramatic expression fun for scaring Protestants that happens to be logical and true.

That she is immaculate and was assumed into heaven are beliefs that are part of the common Catholic patrimony (as is the belief that she is ever-virgin, as alluded to in Ezekiel) and in fact the second belief first came from the Christian East!

Benjamin Andersen agrees with my assessment of this agreement:

Well, if as Griswold said in his congratulations to Pope Benedict XVI, "truth has many faces", then why not talk Immaculate Conception and Assumption to RCs, and talk about other stuff to Baptists, Unitarians and pagans? Fifty or sixty years ago this would have been ground-breaking. Now, it's just sort of sad.
A punto: 50 or 60 years ago such an agreement from churchmen, who mostly were gentlemen and thus honest, would have meant actual acceptance of the Catholic position. I’ve more respect for the Low Churchmen who are wrong about the doctrines but at least have principles. It seems that the Prots are wrong for the right reasons and the ARCIC types right for the wrong ones!

P.S. Not only were Fr North and I in college at the same time but we had a tutorial together on scripture in which he comported himself Catholicly. He’s moved on to better things, having the job that Fr Alfred Hope-Patten created.

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