Saturday, November 12, 2011

Continuing churches meet
Interesting: American high churchmen who on principle don’t accept the papal claims (like Bishop Grafton 100 years ago) and don’t want to give up their culture for Greek or Russian (their slight Protestantism notwithstanding, understandable to anyone who doesn’t hate Western Christianity); old Prayer Book but varying versions of ceremonial really based on the Catholic Church 50-150 years ago. (One priest I know online looks like a vocations recruiting poster for Cardinal Spellman’s Archdiocese of New York, biretta, fiddleback, lace and all.) That is, the Episcopal Church about 50-60 years ago, or the kind of church that got me started, take that as you will. (Compared to the Vatican II mess in the Catholic Church that Pope Benedict is cleaning up, no wonder a Much Younger Fogey took the trappings at face value and thought he was in the church. 1850s-1950s Catholic practice on steroids but in a little church and in English: what I saw was one priest’s faith and not that of his denomination. BTW he’s long dead and his little church since turned liberal and closed.)

Essentially they believe in a mid-19th-century high churchmanship, slightly Protestant (wary of devotions to saints or prayer for the dead per the anti-Catholic Articles) but, thinking they’re the purest branch of the early church (of course; that’s why they’re members; first five centuries; never understood the cutoff date; most Continuers hold to something more like Orthodoxy, based on the big seven councils), they think its nature is like the Catholic Church’s (the faith which was once delivered unto the saints is not revisable by vote; a kind of church infallibility) and not that of a denomination in which everything is up for change (what happened to the mainstream denomination they left, founded to cater to the ruling class: to give the king of England an annulment he didn’t deserve, schism -> Protestantism -> widespread unofficial unbelief after the ‘Enlightenment’ -> long holding pattern coasting on the larger culture’s residual conservatism [’50s Episcopalians, or the good pre-neocon Republican Party at prayer] -> lady ministers [Catholics: we couldn’t do that even if we wanted to] -> gay weddings [ditto] -> ? [my guess: soft-sell apostasy, a churchwide vote to make the doctrine in the creeds optional; from ‘Bible-only’ Christian to no longer Christian in about 500 years; literally, liturgical unitarians with bishops]).

(The newly departed Fr Serge on the Continuum’s thinking: it didn’t work so let’s repeat it.)

In short I wish them well, FWIW, but their religion doesn’t make sense to me.

They are acting on principle. You don’t have to agree with them to respect them.

From Fr C.

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