Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
  • A new denomination? More. America’s three Anglo-Catholic Anglican dioceses, the Diocese of Pittsburgh and various other groups old and new seem to be a part of this. Good for them, for now. Middle American (ex-)Episcopalians are tired of being pushed around by liberals. So... ‘the 1980s Episcopal Church welcomes you’ (but with more Evangelicalism, never big in American Anglicanism), or some who have been burnt by Protestantism including the Elizabethan compromise want to try it again. They’re holding on even more tightly to the Articles which I find ironic. As long as they’ve got XIX and XXI let alone several others they’re as self-defeating as the denom they left. Still more.
  • Lourdes doctors ‘getting out of the miracle business’. Strictly speaking approved private revelations are not part of the faith; they’re optional even though there are feast-days with Masses and offices (propers) for them, churches named for them and official pilgrimages. In a way this is not surprising in unbelieving France, like much of Europe including Britain secular to an extent unimaginable to Americans. But with John Boyden I find it disturbing. And, I’ll add, though it’s mainstream European it seems very dated (like ‘God is dead’ and liberation theology; priests with Che posters tend to be retirees) and out of touch with trends in the Roman communion now, which under Pope Benedict and spearheaded by younger people is having a still small but influential Catholic revival.
  • Like Frs Thomas Hopko and Patrick Reardon I consider the Entrance of the Mother of God/Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the same category as phenomena like Lourdes: not heretical and not proveably a hoax so celebrating it liturgically is not a problem. But most improbable and not adding anything really to the Christian message. (St Pius V, no Modernist, once dropped it from the Roman Rite.) I like to think of it, taken from the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James (the story is so old I understand the Muslims believe in a version of it), as a poetic description of the Immaculate Conception (which as Michael Astley once wrote answers a question Orthodox theology doesn’t ask, which is not the same as saying it’s not true).
John writes from Rome:
“Before, what we presented to the church was a gift all wrapped up — and all the church had to say was ‘I approve,’ without making a lot of effort,” said Theillier, referring judging would-be miracles. “Not today.”
That is their job! They don’t judge the miraculous nature, they give their expert opinion on particular medical cases.

Also:

“The Lourdes committee is independent of the Vatican’s miracle-vetting outfit, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.”
I just love impartial journalism like that.

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