Friday, June 20, 2008

Two on Anglicanism
  • Mass-and-office or high-and-dry? Fr Gordon Anderson on one of Anglicanism’s perennial strengths and weaknesses: both good and bad kinds of churchmanship have it. As Thomas Day writes this regrettably gives the ‘objectivity’ of good liturgical worship a bad name. Catholicism of course is a balanced spiritual diet: doctrine and the liturgy and, subordinated to them, devotions and mysticism. Aρετη (there are good and bad liturgics as there’s objective right and wrong) not arrogance.
  • RIP Henry Chadwick. From a priest who’s a regular reader.
Many sensed that the more recent history of Anglican-Roman Catholic relations was a source of some sadness to him. He had little love either for radical fashions in theology or for the fierce neoconservatism characteristic of some parts of the Roman Catholic church in recent decades. He represented that earlier and more hopeful phase, begun and aborted in the 1920s at the Malines conversations (named after the French spelling of the Belgian city of Mechelen where they were held), where Anglicans and Roman Catholics discovered unexpected common ground in the study of the fathers of the church and in a deep but unobtrusive liturgical piety.
An echo of Cardinal Mercier (Archbishop of Malines, who also wrote a book against Modernism) and Lord Halifax. The same time as the Anglo-Catholic Congresses, so full of hope. A long time ago in England I met somebody who was at one of the latter.

This ‘neoconservatism’ is not orthodoxy or traditionalism; it’s less about liturgy and local immemorial custom, and more about its own kind of innovation (itself a modern phenomenon like the Modernism it’s rightly reacting against)... making much of the person of the Pope except when he stands up to the political neocons on Catholic principles such as on war.
He ... was certainly deeply committed to finding consensus — not by coining a conveniently vague formula, but by a real excavation of common first principles.

The Anglican church no longer shows so clearly the same combination of rootedness in the early Christian tradition and unfussy, prayerful pragmatism, and the ecumenical scene is pretty wintry with less room for the distinctive genius of another Chadwick. But the work done stays done, and it is there to utilise in more hospitable times.
Somebody Pope Benedict, the Orthodox and the Catholic remnant among Anglicans and the Continuum ought to study if they don’t already know him.

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