Monday, October 20, 2014

Anglicans and that good old economia

  • Both the "continuing" churches and the Anglo-Catholic wing of the Episcopal Church seem to be afflicted with a surprising, indeed astonishing, amount of remarriage after divorce. Some of that number were ex-Catholics they had attracted because of their laxity in this, but a lot of it were, so to speak, home-grown divorcees. I would not be surprised if the percentage were higher than in the general population. When the Ordinariate was first announced, a number of Anglo-Catholic ministers attacked it with lofty-sounding theological rebuttals, and the ones I happened to know about were all living with their second if not third wives — a fact not one thought to mention. "I have a theological objection." "What's her name?" To be fair, like with contraception this is very recent of Anglicans. Henry VIII didn't believe in modern, no-fault divorce; historically the Church of England and Episcopal Church taught and practiced the same thing about divorce and remarriage as Catholics (annulments were hard to get), which is why in 1936 the Archbishop of Canterbury refused to marry the King to Mrs. Simpson.
  • I think one should add the Orthodox theological commitment to being expressions of their societies — not the way they'd put it but certainly the mindset or paradigm. I once read a talk Fr. Thomas Hopko gave to an Episcopal parish thinking about becoming Catholic or Orthodox and a big point, a big sales pitch, was his claim that with their idea of economia the Orthodox were more pastoral than the juridical Catholics and had no problem with all the people in the congregation on their second marriages. And no problem with contraception either. It was that crass a sales pitch, and it worked.
  • Was this the so-called Western Orthodox Church? Its liturgy is derived from the BCP as I understand it. Some years ago I heard from a reliable source that a parish on Long Island went that way from the Episcopal Church because it was a lot less complicated than the RC approach. Fr. Hopko is OCA, which doesn't have or support Western Rite Orthodoxy. (The Greeks hate it too.) WRO has two juridical forms, Antiochian and ROCOR, and a few ritual versions, from resembling the Tridentine Mass, the original approved Russian version from the 1800s, to resembling the Anglican Missal (the so-called Liturgy of St. Tikhon), the two kinds in the Antiochian church, to sort of free-form Anglicanish or vagante archaic reconstructions that are heavily byzantinized, the anti-Catholic versions ROCOR has used. WRO are under pressure to byzantinize; many do switch. Some become so heavily byzantinized, particularly in ROCOR, they might as well. "The one, holy, Byzantine, and apostolic church"; they worship their cultures. Rumor has it Msgr. Joseph of the Antiochians in America isn't keen on WRO either. The Catholic Church has both latinized and unlatinized forms of the Byzantine Rite.
  • In re: the juridical Catholic mind, I still recall hearing two Catholics attending a wedding on Saturday and wondering if it fulfilled their Sunday obligation. The idea seemed incomprehensible to me and seemed to miss the point that one was a social event and the other the worship of God. Still does. It is my understanding that the time for a mass on Saturday fulfill the Sunday obligation varies somewhat from diocese to diocese. Only Catholics can think this way and I still find it mystifying. It reminds me of the stories a Jewish friend would tell me about his Orthodox parents. You have a point but if it was a late-afternoon wedding, resembling the vigil Mass that does cover your obligation (I've done it; a Tridentine parish near here has it), the confusion's understandable, especially considering a lot of people don't care about the difference in content between a nuptial Mass and a Sunday Mass, or aren't very bright. (The value of the Baltimore Catechism: a quick and dirty intro to our theology that even the dumb kids understand. It's only a starting point for the smart or religious kids.)


  1. Re - Sabbath obligation:
    And on the opposite side, that side leaning to an overweening scrupulosity, we have those in dread and fear for having eaten Saltines on Lenten Fridays, back when Saltines were still made with lard.
    I wish we could hear from someone-who-would-know about this Saturday Night Nuptual Mass thing. I would suspect that it does not fulfill one's obligation, if only for the fact that the readings are different.

  2. If attending a 6:00 p.m. Mass of Saturday satisfies the Sunday obligation, which it does, I have been reliably informed, then so would the wedding if it was a Mass.


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