Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Anglicans: When non-Catholics say they're Catholic

The (Protestant) Episcopal Church's new presiding bishop, like an archbishop but not (he has no province nor a cathedral of his own), uncoincidentally black:
While Bishop Curry affirmed his support for his predecessor, the Episcopal Church of the future he hoped would be catholic in doctrine, evangelistic in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, soaked in the Bible, and animated by hearts converted by faith through grace to seek justice and peace for all people.
Small-c because he's not claiming to be under Rome of course.

No surprise; nice pious, even ecumenical (?), rhetoric, standard Anglican stuff. At face value all good.

But of course Bishop Curry doesn't mean you can't change the matter of a sacrament, such as holy orders and matrimony, nor that the Eucharist is Christ's sacrifice pleaded on the altar with the substance of the elements completely changed, among other matters. He's not leading the Episcopal Church back into the church.

(Blessed Pius IX on Pusey, supposedly: he was like the bell tower calling the people into the church but staying outside.)

So, Catholics, what does he mean by Catholic? What does "our" word really mean? Containing the whole; universal teachings open to all mankind.

Everybody from the Anglicans' "Reformation" founders (a schism to give the king his annulment, then copying continental heretics) to high churchmen through the years (including would-be Catholics as well as rival true-church claimants) to liberal high churchmen now, the dominant faction in Episcopalianism, has meant: keeping bishops (whom we don't recognize: traditionally from us, it's Msgr. Tikhon but Mr. Welby, for example), the creeds, and the notion of a liturgy, which was conservative by "Reformation" standards although the Lutherans, seriously claiming to be THE church (the "reformed" Western Catholic Church; the true Anglican branch theory's similar, Catholic among Catholics but the best for being "reformed"), always remained liturgically closer to us (Pietism and American Protestantism changed that). We don't recognize their bishops because we take Cranmer and the Articles at face value, heresy about the Eucharist. Apostolic succession without the apostolic faith (the creeds without the Mass: Christian but not Catholic) is impossible; it would be magic.

Of course Catholic doctrine is much more than bishops, creeds, and liturgies, though those are essential in it.

The dictionary definition of big-C Catholic is the Christian church that recognizes the Pope as its head on earth. True but not nearly enough. It's a whole set of beliefs and practices (including but not limited to my rite and culture) that includes the Pope, who's really their caretaker. It's not nominalism ("you can be as liberal and low-church as you want as long as you're nominally under Rome").

By the way, most churchgoing blacks are socially conservative, nothing to do with the Yankee SWPL liberalism of Bishop Curry's denomination: actually on the "wrong" side of World War Gay with the Wrong Kind of Whites (Not Our Class, Dear).
The era of litigation and ideological litmus tests may have come to an end for the Episcopal Church.
If you're going to enforce your teachings (changeable, unlike ours), which you have every right to do, don't lie about it. Of course you have litmus tests and conservatives aren't welcome. Non-contradiction. But the liberal "thanks thee, O Lord, that s/he is not as others": honestly enforcing teachings is for bigoted "Romans," fundamentalists, and other icky people.

Fr. Hunwicke's (married; long a traditional would-be Catholic Anglican priest, now a traditional Catholic priest) common sense about Catholic ecumenism (possible: might the Nestorian Church come back?):
My own view is that Separated Brethren should be viewed differently depending on whether they are officially set on a course of convergence towards, or divergence from, Catholic Unity.
So, Bishop Curry, "join us in spreading the gospel!"

And by the way, America's first black Catholic priest and bishop was James Augustine Healy, Bishop of Portland, Maine, in 1875.

1 comment:

  1. Healy’s brother Patrick was the man who really put Georgetown on the map. Healy Hall is named after Patrick.


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