Saturday, August 28, 2010

Anglo-Catholic facts

  • ‘The “Reformation” just translated services and allowed priests to marry; everything else stayed the same.’ Mostly false. True more or less when Henry VIII was alive; not really a Protestant he zigged and zagged, letting them have their way when it was useful for foreign policy (when he needed the northern German countries for something). After he died, his state church turned Protestant. The Articles of Religion make that clear. But even then there were high churchmen, with a ‘high’ view of church authority and the sacraments like Catholics. When that mixed with a romantic mood in England in the early 1800s, reacting to both the loss of faith at the ‘Enlightenment’ and the Industrial Revolution (so you had the nostalgic mediæval Gothic Revival in architecture, fitting what was to come), that invented Anglo-Catholicism. (The theological Oxford Movement met the architectural Cambridge one.) When the second generation of ACs started copying then-current RC ceremonial (better than today), you had ACism as we know it and high church came to mean ceremony not theology or authority (Catholicism has all three!).
  • ‘The Book of Common Prayer is Sarum in English.’ False. See above.
  • ‘Anglo-Catholics do Sarum.’ Mostly false. In the mid-1800s when the ACs hooked up with the Gothic Revival, they started to revive medieval ceremonial but that was soon overtaken by copying whatever current RC ceremonial was/is. A minority did it.
  • ‘The RC Anglican Use is Sarum.’ (Pictured above.) False. Explanation.
  • ‘Anglo-Catholics are wannabe Roman Catholics.’ Partly true. Understandable because an AC looks and believes more like RCs than Episcopalians but by definition he believes his church (the Church of England, the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Communion) is fully part of the Catholic Church so he says he doesn’t need to be an RC. The American version of ACism is big on its version of Anglicanism theologically, not being RC-minded. That said, in England there have been for about 100 years Anglo-Papalists who really are what this claims, using the Roman Missal (once the old one, now the new) and not the BCP or one of its Anglican equivalents. (Lots of this in London for example.) They’re the ones the Pope is reaching out to with the upcoming ordinariates. If they really are would-be RCs holding that Anglicanism is deficient, are they really ACs?
  • ‘Anglo-Catholics are gay; they like it for the theatricality.’ Another partly true one. The romance and art have always appealed to male homosexuals and the clergy was a respected job/lifestyle for them to hide in, even giving them a reason (imitating Rome) for not marrying. But of course stereotypes don’t tell the whole truth. There have also been happily married ACs including priests... with children. And most likely sincere celibates too. (As in the Roman Catholic Church. Orientation is not a sin ≠ practice.) But it seems to me that as mainstream society (couples, families) has moved away from churchgoing, ACism’s gotten gayer and more exclusively male (which explains the partial truth that it’s mostly priests), sort of a hobby for some people. And now that Episcopalianism, where everything is subject to change by vote, counteth homosexuality unto righteousness, unto such little posterity as there may be for evermore, it’s no wonder such profess to be loyal Anglicans. I would have gone last Tuesday week: had not my partner objected.
They were around when I was a teenage Episcopalian to teach me traditional, pre-Vatican II high church, in beautiful English, when the official Catholic Church wanted nothing to do with it. Thank you!

Moving right along, from The Anglo-Catholic:
AC books for sale.

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