Sunday, August 24, 2008

Anglicanism: for Catholics, Articles XIX and XXI gave away the ending
Anonymously submitted by a learned online friend
Consider the penultimate paragraph of “The Revealing Church” by Dom Gregory Dix, in Laudate Vol. VIII, No. 29 (March 1930), pp. 24-46:
It is because it leaves no room for faith, but ultimately only for opinion, that we have presumed to call this theory of the authority of a fallible Church impossible; it is because it has already broken down under trial that we call it reactionary. Queen Elizabeth’s renunciation of the title “Supreme Head,” with all that it implied, in favour of that of “Supreme Governor” is its exact equivalent. what the Elizabethan church required, even under penalty of death, was obedience, not faith. Except for those doctrines upon which there was a general conventional orthodoxy at the moment quite apart from her dogmatic teaching, the English Church was to have no teaching and no revelation.
IOW when the surrounding society favoured orthodoxy, it looked orthodox. I agree.
Conformists might believe in their hearts what they willed of all the doctrines on which men differed, provided they conformed. It was the authority of a church by its own Twenty-first article admittedly fallible most thoroughly enforced. And it is because she has continued to send men elsewhere than to herself for faith, to the “Primitive Church” or the consensus, that the English Church for four centuries had been unable to assert her authority or to secure the obedience she has demanded. Because unless faith be the spring of obedience, in many things obedience is impossible. And now, after three hundred years of turmoil, we are presented with a resurrected Queen Elizabeth, busked in some scraps of Canon Streeter’s armour, and told that this is and was and ever shall be, not the Church of England only, but the whole Catholic Church of Christ. Non tali auxilio shall we end our troubles. It was she who first erected unreliability into a system and began them.
The article was a long review of One God and Father of All: A Reply to Father Vernon by E. Milner White and Wilfred Knox (1928) — a semi-modernist “liberal catholic” defense of the Church of England and against the papal claims.

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