Thursday, September 20, 2007

Defining terms
Never mind the bollocks from state propaganda. From a US Marine stuck in Iraq:
...the fact is that when someone shoots at me (a legal combatant) or tries to use a roadside bomb (IED) against me while I'm on patrol they are not a terrorist.
Or from the Episcopal left; that is, ‘it’s not “leaving the church” when we do it’:
When we disobey canons it’s prophetic. When you do it — disobey us — it’s schismatic.
— From a Church of Christ turned Anglican turned Roman Catholic friend and peace activist who doesn’t abuse words Humpty Dumpty fashion

(Again the current row is about a small minority who want to quit the Episcopal Church — winning or losing won’t affect most Episcopalians in any way.)

So let’s see: for example one objects to the Pope historically because supposedly he claims he’s above big-T Tradition then hates him today because he says he has no authority to change it? (Pius IX, John Paul II and Benedict XVI: ‘I can’t. I’m only the Pope.’)

(Western liberal objections to the Pope because he’s CatholicOrthodox objections to the claims that his office is of divine institution etc.)

Here’s another: ‘Teaching what Christians always have taught = looking for the perfect church’.

Pride (implied here) is nothing to do with it.

Catholics believe the church, orthodoxy, is paradoxical like the Incarnation: true God and true man; sinless, infallible and indefectible church but sinful, fallible and defectible people, built upon the Rock that is Christ and not subject to the changing mores of the white upper middle class (or every wind of doctrine as St Paul wrote to the Ephesians), or ‘making it up as you go along’... like the caricature of the Pope.

(The same friend I quoted above notes that the obnoxiousness as is often the case comes not from born Anglicans and/or upper-middles but rather snobbish wannabes who’ve converted from some other church.)

But if one is a Protestant believing in a fallible church whose general councils can and do err in doctrine all bets are off, aren’t they? Tomorrow gay weddings, after that... ????

Also answering Dean Candler, Catholicism is irreducible to mere opinion or liturgical fashion, something I think some well-meaning liberal Episcopalians don’t understand about us. To compare it to an example from recent news that just about all churchmen agree upon, Ann Redding can’t be a Christian and a Muslim at the same time.

(Confusing doctrine with discipline or opinion, or academic freedom/debate — one of the Pope’s points at Regensburg IIRC, that we believe in a rational God and reason is conforming oneself to reality, nothing Protestant about it contra Dean Candler — with teaching heresy or apostasy is another liberal tactic. The mainstream media do it all the time: ‘Rome’s inconsistent on married clergy but won’t let you starve Terri Schiavo so what do they know?’)

The abolition of man proceeds
Or Christianity without Christ, modern liberalism, inevitably collapses and you’re left with barbarism. From Mark Shea, extensively quoting C.S. Lewis.

Catholicism with an English heart
Our Anglican/Episcopal tradition at its best has been a gentle, worldly-wise, patiently pastoral faith, developed by the realization that the principles of the few are rarely embraced by the many, to whom their parish church has been a place in which the important events of their lives have been celebrated and where, in the liturgy and the Christian Year they have found comfort and solace. True such a religion is small beer to the enthusiast and not the stuff which changes the world, or does it? Yet our tradition has produced a legion of unsung saints, nurtured by Prayer Book Christianity, parochial life, and the rhythm of "Catholic" devotion.
Archimandrite Serge (Keleher) once told me there is a tension in orthodoxy and I can easily see how, trying to resolve that, the Anglican knack for tolerant conservatism can go off the rails into liberalism (Modernism, relativism, indifferentism, a mistake some Anglicans — including some of America’s founding fathers — have been making since the ‘Enlightenment’). Abusus non tollit usum.

Then again the ‘Reformation’ was a mistake: separating England from its lawful patriarch and communion with the rest of Western Europe by force and letting Protestant heresies take over. Tolerant conservatism isn’t Protestant; it’s English. Nor are, in themselves, services in the vernacular! (The only good thing it did in England; literate people already had forms of the daily office.) All were possible at least in theory without bringing in schism and heresy.

Normal (pre-modern, un-self-conscious) religious practice
Faith and practice ... are to be discovered in the parochial life... and that, on the whole, isn't very adventurous, headline-grabbing, or the stuff of best-selling books. Comprehension is hard work and the very daily act of living together, as diverse people who make up a parish seldom gives chance for what the world terms heroism.
We have tended, for the last couple of hundred years, to become more and more gathered parishes of the like-minded...
Which is modern as Dr Frank Senn for example points out.
Our ancestors were prepared to term us merely "the church", the church of the village, whether that village is a locality, or today a gathering of all sorts and conditions of people.

I think we must now face the fact that we are narrowing our inclusivity, in danger of becoming a denomination. We need to be creative enough to find new ways to respect, uphold and encourage each other.
Like most things in classic Anglicanism entirely true as far as it goes. Inclusivity as in ‘all are welcome to come and pray in a Catholic church’ but not in the sense of contradictory doctrinal and moral teachings under one roof! ‘In essentials unity’ and so on as some Protestant said centuries ago. And in worship the same orthodox, Godward, objective principles in a plethora of rites and uses/recensions... not ‘comprehensiveness’ in the sense of four or more contradictory churches under the artificial umbrella of a (ex-)state religion. (The Broad Churchmen in the driver’s seat in Episcopalianism right now don’t really believe in it either.)

From Fr Tony Clavier with whom I doubtless disagree on a number of things but whose intelligence and good humour are appreciated.

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