Monday, February 16, 2009

Ecclesiastical bibs and bobs
  • Arturo on how the church works. Specifically the papacy: an organic traditionalism of which the Pope is the defender or something over which he is master, a sort of caricature of the faith Arturo would say characterises the neocath project (‘defending tradition going back to 1970’)? Historically Western Catholicism and the Eastern churches have been one — Catholic — in practice on this; as one of this blog’s unofficial theological advisers Paul Goings puts it, no-one in the 1800s from the ultramontanes to liberals like Lord Acton ever envisaged the ordinary practice of the Catholic religion stopped in most of the West by fiat.
    • ‘I vow to change nothing of the received Tradition...’ What the 19th-century Popes upheld.
    • What happens when we credit leaders with more authority than they possess? Fr John Parsons examines the historical origins of just such a tendency among modern Catholics. Not at all the same as the objections of Western liberals who hate the Pope really because he’s Catholic. As the Episcopalians have shown in San Joaquin (summing up lots of boring canon law: of course they have the right to set up a new diocese but they did so by breaking their own rules, sacking what was left of the old standing committee that didn’t leave along with the diocese, doing so possibly because the old committee were too conservative — read ‘no gay weddings’) they’ve no problem with universal jurisdiction in principle!
      Eastern Orthodoxy can be charged with taking tradition as its operative norm, even to the obscuring of the present authority of the successor of Peter and to the loss of a centre of unity.
      Besides rabid anti-Westernism in some quarters, opinion not doctrine, about the only real problem EOxy has is the widespread adoption of modern Protestant teaching on contraception (a teaching starting in the 1930s and picking up steam mid-century) but at least it’s below the level of official definition of doctrine so the Orthodox still get the benefit of the doubt. This is a Catholic church with which corporate reunion is still possible if not for the insurmountable difference regarding the scope of the Pope: divinely instituted and applying the charism of infallibility or man-made rank of the episcopate for the church’s good order?
  • On that note, Fr Blake on personality cults via Tea at Trianon. A good sign: Pope Benedict’s Catholic revival in the Roman communion is not one of these but rather a spontaneous movement among the young.
  • Trying to rebut ‘misconceptions about the Episcopal Church’ in the late 1800s. Sorry, Charley, but as you know from our POV some of them are true. It was and still is snobbish and divided against itself. The trouble with stereotypes is not that they’re not true — they often are which is what makes them — but mistaking them for the whole truth. To balance this out here’s what Huw and Brother Stephen have said.
  • Fr T.E. Jones: The English Reformation created an extraordinary phenomenon, a Calvinist Church with a Catholic structure.
  • I am often told that people are very interested in ‘spirituality’... and I am sure that this is true. I think that such interest is very different to a desire for practice or conformity to an ascetic. My own impression (and I may well be very wrong) is that people, in the main, want a ‘spirituality module’ in their lives... I am not sure if, when we use the term ‘Christian spirituality’, we do not cause great confusion.

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