Friday, December 28, 2007

Two on the C of E
Nothing to do with the Anglican row

A comment at Touchstone’s blog on the conversion of Tony Blair:
The plurality [number] of people attending RC Mass does not represent a renewed interest in Catholicism so much as a general apostasy in and from the Church of England.
As the Revd Richard Kew points out, England today isn’t just a case of casual churchgoing but of people with no religion or who are anti-religious.

The Archbishop of York via Fr Tony Clavier, who is on the mend:
... if the Church of England closed inner-city parishes, even if they are sparsely attended, it would cease to be the Church of England and become merely a church for the well-off in suburban areas.

He need only look at the Episcopal Church. More and more as we have retreated from the inner cities and the rural areas we have become a church for wealthy people; people with the money to attend meetings, espouse liberal causes, write checks and love at a distance. The poor — white, African American, Hispanic — are served by a few parishes and fewer clergy.
Some might argue that the Episcopal Church always was like that really, perhaps unwittingly. To be fair, all the mainline American churches are pegged to the upper middle class demographically. Which means, as Charley says, the only way they’ll grow is if their next generation has lots of kids.

That said...

This is what I’ve said about the Roman Church locally as they’ve more or less adopted that ‘business model’: some closings and consolidations are needed... but rather than have the church turn its back on the slums and be reduced to tokenism (ha) in social ministry, give some of those churches to teeming traditionalist orders! (In fine Anglo-Catholic fashion, from the Docklands to Sophiatown. I knew a priest who was kicked out of Namibia in the 1960s for saying no to apartheid and ended his days supplying at a Continuing parish.)

Of course you and I know why in most places that ain’t gonna happen with the RCs... unless Pope Benedict’s restoration has at least five years to pick up steam?

The decline from ‘religious’ to ‘spiritual’
Is the ultimate Protestantism: no infallible church means I not God call the shots. As our father among the saints P.J. O’Rourke and wiser folk have pointed out hardship tends to beat that out of people and bring them, well, to their knees.

P.S. Also, to be fair, ISTM that Episcopal and American Orthodox growth mirror each other, one a lateral church move to the left, the other to the right; neither really evangelises the unchurched/never churched. The latter lose many of their born members. In both cases the conversions may not happen as much as claimed.

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