Thursday, May 02, 2013

Tuesday, continued: answering Fr C's post today

Fr C writes here on this. When I met him online years ago he was a trad but not in a usual militant trad mold; simpático with me in some ways. We have less in common now he’s joined Continuing Anglicanism but his criticisms of things and people in the Catholic Church, including the trad movement, sometimes are right.
  • Infallible authority doesn’t necessarily mean ultramontanist. Roman Catholic doesn’t either. The last Pope, for example, wasn’t ultramontanist and never was. In a way his abdication teaches a lesson he’s taught all his life as a professor and priest about the limits of the papacy (the man’s fallible; the office ex cathedra not). I understand Vatican I actually put the brakes on ultramontanist opinion by clarifying what papal infallibility is not. All more or less Catholic groups believe in a kind of church infallibility: the Eastern churches for example, and I think the Union of Scranton believes something like high Anglicans about the consensus of pre-‘Reformation’ churches’ belief, expressed as the Vincentian canon, being the source of doctrine. Catholicism believes the Pope’s a subset of church infallibility; an essential part of the church, but only part of the church. Tradition’s guardian, who can’t change doctrine.
  • Trads do have a lot in common with old Western conciliarists such as the Gallicans and old Germans, and with the East in this regard: papal minimalism, or the traditional Catholic religion largely runs itself.
  • Today’s German progressives, like mainline Protestants, want to change doctrine to fit secularist culture; we don’t, and can’t anyway. Even the Pope can’t.
  • No to going to priests operating without episcopal oversight, unless there really is no other option (exactly what the church teaches). Being under a bishop is Catholicism 101 right out of patristics.
  • Continuing Anglicanism’s not an option, because while ’50s-high-Episcopal-style churchmen like Fr J. Gordon Anderson are great, very close to us, I’m afraid they’re wrong about classical Anglicanism; it’s not Catholic.


  1. Yes, let's leave the "almost fanatical devotion to the Pope" to Monty Python.

  2. Seriously, Fr. C is really getting off the plot if he thinks your perfectly reasonable response is indicative of Asperger's Syndrome!


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