Saturday, April 06, 2013

Our other cousins, liberal high church

Earlier I wrote about our fellow conservative liturgical Christians, the Orthodox, Continuing Anglicans and (a mention) Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod; our cousins. Now...

They’re well-educated, have great taste and, more important, believe the creeds, more or less agree with us on the sacraments, and love us trads’ liturgies. So why aren’t they in the church?

Liberal high churchmanship is largely unknown to Catholics, at least to American ones. Logically it’s contradictory (so’s Catholic low church but it exists). The Modernists among us are anti-high church! So liberal high church is mainline Protestantism with Catholic stuff on top. It’s the unintended effect Anglo-Catholicism had on its denomination, the Episcopal Church, at least on the clergy. (I think most remaining lay Episcopalians are still happy being indifferent Protestants, nice guys like George H.W. Bush who used to vote for good secular conservatives like Barry Goldwater. I read somewhere that most of their laity still identify as Protestants but most of their priests now don’t.) Rather than turning Episcopalians into Catholics, you got liberal high church: creed, liturgy and sacrament, but not on the church’s terms; on the Episcopalians’ own terms. (There are liberal high-church Lutherans too, among the Episcopalians’ Scandinavian cousins in ELCA.) Everything’s changeable by vote. Which reduces the church’s trappings to props, having the form of religion but denying the power thereof, but there are sincere liberal high churchmen. And unlike 16th-century England, it’s a free country; they have the right to govern themselves. Regular readers know where I’m going: church infallibility, not fungibility.

Why they’re not Catholic: ‘we hold these PC/SWPL truths to be self-evident...’ (Hard to remember that until mid-last century the mainline agreed with the church on all sexual matters.) The liberal high churchman’s on board with the mainline’s program, which follows what the secularists want. Western secularism is Protestantism’s endgame. Political correctness (SWPL), the liberal high churchman’s magisterium for morals, is a Christian heresy, well meant; Christian morals distorted, minus Christ or often common sense.

Huw Richardson once explained it’s like the difference between Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism. They look similar but are really not.

Interestingly even though the secular world calls their shots, though the mainline including its liturgical denominations tries to follow (women clergy and now gay marriage), they keep losing people. Because the secular mainstream doesn’t need them anymore. (The kids cut out the churchy middleman, the Jesus talk, and are PC on their own time.) Harsh but what is, is.

P.S. Pius IX on Pusey: he was like the bell tower calling people into the church but staying outside.


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