Sunday, July 13, 2014

Talking about Anglo-Papalism

A conversation that started with "The Place of Meeting," an old Anglo-Catholic painting of a Tridentine Requiem High Mass with rows of the souls of British military dead, in uniform, looking on, heads bowed in prayer. First saw a print of this 30 years ago at Good Shepherd, Rosemont; another copy, from my old pro-Catholic Orthodox priest, is on the wall next to my bed.
Wow, for an invalid and null Mass, carried out by play-acting ministers, it is beautiful.
Are you being facetious? Although I wrote here recently about the irony I've come to of respecting all Anglicans, including the liberals and the Evangelicals, by saying Anglicanism's not the church (that is, I'm not trying to make them what I wanted them to be), including of course accepting Apostolicae Curae, I'd never go that far in describing Anglo-Catholic worship. Anglo-Catholics helped form me (I was Episcopal to begin with): they taught me pre-Vatican II practices when the official church had thrown them away. Old-school Anglo-Catholics weren't ex-Catholics. They were acting in good faith. In my allowable opinion, surely God blessed them for that, and it's not inconceivable that he touched down on their altars because of that. God made valid orders; he's not limited by them.
I was being a touch hyperbolic. The subjective faith of people involved is for God to judge. Objectively, the religion is a fraud and a fabrication, grounded on the sinful lusts of kings and the worldly ambition of their ministers.
True about Anglicanism. Interestingly, Anglo-Papalism, the kind of Anglo-Catholicism that did the Tridentine Mass as shown in this picture and was part of my formation, agreed! Their only difference with the church was they wanted to bring the whole Anglican Communion into the church, in their orders, thanks to the Dutch touch. Because of the Dutch touch, they accepted Apostolicae Curae.
But there could be a Dutch touch, and proper intent to boot? Yeah, sure - and the Almighty is throwing it right out the heavenly window - these prayers for the men lost in the Great War - all for lack of apostolic pedigree. We all agree on most stuff - but when it boils down to this? Somehow, I just doubt that.
As I wrote in the blog post I mention, the church has said no to the Dutch touch: Anglican ordinations with Old Catholic bishops are still Anglican ordinations.
And "a vain thing, fondly invented"!!! (or was it vice versa?) LOL.
Right. Anglo-Catholic priests intended to do what the church does, but their church, as the Thirty-nine Articles clearly teach, doesn't.
Something I have never understood - even Smokey Clem's had that prayerbook catechism in the pews - that condemned everything they were doing. None the less, I do not believe that the Lord turns a deaf ear to the illustrated petitions above.
I noticed that too. It took rationalizations on the level of Newman's Tract XC to try to reconcile that. Interestingly, Protestant Anglicans saw that method as Modernism's cousin.
Anglo-Papalism doesn't make any sense at all. If the Catholic Church is true, and somebody knows it is true, then they have a moral obligation to join it. Not futz around with lace vestments pretending to say Mass after some Dutchman puts his hands on his head and pretends to ordain him using an invalid ordinal.
Anglo-Papalism like the rest of Anglo-Catholicism was built on a false, romantic view they had of Anglicanism, but I would never be as unkind in my description. There's something to be said for semi-congregationalism resisting the spirit of Vatican II, which is what the best of them did. Sure, the Dutch touch was just a rationalization but they really thought corporate reunion was possible; I'd say women's ordination killed that dream. (When I found out about it, about five years after it started, it was like being punched in the stomach.) Plus again, in the '70s the mother church, THE church, had become inhospitable because of its own Modernist problem.
John, the Anglo-Papalists had to have to have known that corporate reunion was impossible even before women's ordination. An Anglican Church that contains low church evangelicals was never going to reunite with Rome. What they were doing was play acting. I don't doubt that many of them were torn about it, but they were play acting nonetheless.
It was wishful thinking of the Anglo-Papalists, but they were sincere; over the past 10 years I've never described them as play-acting. Rather, I thank them, which is why I say the 1928 Book of Common Prayer/Anglican missals' creed at English Masses to this day.

Anglo-Papalism was always rare in the Episcopal Church; it was found in the English version of A-Cism. What became the British ordinariate: all these Anglicans were already using the Roman Missal (Novus Ordo) because they already accepted the teachings of the church, so Benedict the Great said let them in.
I tend to have a bit of a down on Anglo-Papalism not so much because of what they believe, but because they opened the door to modernism - a point which Victorian Liberal Churchman, the Very Rev. Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, understood all too well. Their logic chopping, and more to the point, the fact that after the initial protests of 1841 it was not aggressively condemned, made the Church of England a safe place for Liberal theology. The Latitudinarians had had to watch their backs because the old Protestant High Churchmen would put the dogs on them, but with the A-Ps sweeping the streets for them, the Modernists had to do something egregiously stupid before there was a stink about the heresy being promoted.
When you look at it that way, liberal high church historically makes sense.

1 comment:

  1. For some reason painting reminds me of this:


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