Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The theoretical floor of my churchmanship, and WRO

From Bill Tighe: Holy Cross Anglican Church, ACNA, Omaha, is now Holy Cross Orthodox Church, Western Rite Vicariate, ROCOR.

Please, no more of the Celtic and/or Anglo-Saxon Orthodox myth (the evil papist Normans invaded England to punish the Orthodox Britons and Anglo-Saxons). I understand that’s a 19th-century fairy tale.

I like Holy Cross’s worship slide show. Not byzantinized (yet?). Not as Roman Catholic as I’m used to; only a little higher than the Episcopalianism I started with (which wasn't high; it had ‘Solemn High Morning Prayer’). Looks like the theoretical floor of my churchmanship. All the essentials, eastward-facing Mass, and beautiful English. Pope Benedict’s Novus Ordo is a serviceable floor for me on holy days of obligation and flea-market Sundays; make it eastward in most places and now we’re talking. But the old Mass is still better.

Western Rite Orthodoxy has two groups and several churchmanships. The Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate isn’t anti-Catholic; it’s either old-school Old Catholic (St Augustine’s, Denver) or ’50s high Episcopal. Slightly byzantinized. ROCOR’s interprets Orthodoxy’s true-church claim as ‘anything but the living, ’50s tradition of Rome’ (’50s is still in living memory): anti-Catholic. (ROCOR is about preserving unhip 19th-century Russian culture, westernized with its choral music, westernized icons, and scholasticism, a competitor to Rome, a would-be Rome.) So they have either fanciful, heavily byzantinized services that supposedly are pre-schism Western rites (their Roman Rite including Sarum, and their Gallican Rite), or cobbled-together ones based on old Anglican ones (such as here).

The Byzantine Rite of course is wonderful, including the 19th-century westernized Russian version; the problems with Orthodoxy are the related ones of schism and anti-Westernism.

It’s a nice surprise to see such a conversion from ACNA; I wasn’t expecting that. Until 10 years ago they were committed Episcopalians. ACNA is a slightly less liberal Protestant denomination.


  1. Humble opinion: As far as ACNA congregations are concerned, you can have them.

    1. I don't know of any ACNA parishes that have become Catholic, other than part of St Timothy's, Fort Worth.

      ACNA and the Continuers, who are more conservative, are stuck in a sectarian netherworld between mainline Protestantism and the church.

      Episcopal semi-presbyterianism means relative conservatives like you can soldier on in your parishes for a while, but you're still living in a mainline Protestant denomination that can apostatize to unitarianism with a General Convention vote making belief in the creeds' teaching only optional. (They won't tell Grandma not to believe in Jesus anymore.) Of course the 'Reformation' and English schism were wrong; more recently, that women's ordination ever came up for a vote meant Anglo-Catholics lost at the get-go. Come home to the Catholic Church.

  2. It's amazing how many Orthodox want to cling to the notion that the Catholicism of the British Isles is a foreign, later medieval imposition on a once free 'Orthodox' population. Here's another restatement of it I saw today in a report that Orthodoxy is growing in Ireland:

    “Orthodoxy is not something new or strange In Ireland; it has always existed here. It is well-known that Irish Christianity before the 11th century was very similar to ours. But after Ireland was conquered by the British this denomination had been intentionally removed by the Pope. That is probably why many Irish perceive Orthodoxy as something special and dear”

    I am genuinely amazed that a Russian priest can say that Orthodoxy was intentionally removed by the Pope and have never met any Irish convert who cited this thesis as a reason for becoming Orthodox! As you say, YF, it's a 19th-century fairy tale. Don't know if you saw this review last month by Diarmaid McCulloch of Roger Scruton's book on the Anglican Church. RS too is repackaging the old views and leads Mc Culloch to remark:

    A fundamental problem is that he persistently refers to "the Anglican church" throughout his account of its history since 1533, with a further implication that even before that, Anglicanism had always been sitting in the cupboard under the stairs, waiting for the pope to go away. Augustine of Canterbury, sent by Pope Gregory in 597 to establish Roman authority in the old imperial provinces of Britannia, would have been puzzled to learn that his mission had created such a body.

    Orthodoxy was presented to me as having something special to offer the people of Ireland in that it could claim to be neither Protestant nor Catholic, but if that is so, why do the Orthodox want to repackage discredited views of 'history' which align them firmly with the Protestant side? I don't get it.

  3. Looks like ROCOR has just squashed their Western Rite:



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