Thursday, November 26, 2015

Catholic vs. classic Anglican debate

Rural vicars "drowning" amid battle to keep empty churches open.

Right, the C of E is endangered. Many well-meaning Christians and I differ on the solution, either a return to a godly evangelicalism or what I believe, the C of E becoming the C in E again, a return to the faith of the Popes. I maintain that the perhaps well-meant evangelicalism got the ball rolling on the secularism that's emptied these churches. And yes, Catholic churches in Europe are dead too, because of the "Enlightenment," or Protestantism, Part II, accelerated by Vatican II. Orthodoxy? No, thanks. Estranged Catholicism with the same anti-Westernism as ISIS; denying your own Christian heritage (rewriting your history so somehow you were part of the Greek Empire) is no answer worth taking seriously.
A return to Papism isn't the solution for the CofE, since that's inimical to her constitution and canons. It is rather a return to the faith of the Reformed Church of England and that of Holy Scripture, the BCP & Ordinal, the Articles of Religion, and the Homilies. I'm familiar with the revisionist history that claims secularism is a result of Protestantism, but that's specious.
But the Reformed Church of England (and you're right; it is a Reformed faith) is part of the same Renaissance second-guessing of tradition (in the name of casting off medievalism) that in our day has produced women priests and gay weddings, which the Reformed Church of England in fact now teaches and practices, which by the way doesn't cause the English to go back to church.
I'm not moved by the genetic fallacy injected into church history, it's a well-trod path that leads nowhere. The modern CofE, ACC, and TEC deny any sort of Reformed doctrinal connection — that's what that business about consigning the AoR to the "Historical Documents of the Episcopal Church" was about in the US, and the same could be said of the CofE. Homosexual marriage, WO, and other forms of gender confusion aren't a result of the Reformed faith, but rather an absence of it. The Carolines had just as much right to the patristic mantle as anyone, and the English could easily read the Fathers as consonant with Reformed Eucharistic doctrine. Bp Beveridge taught that “Whatsoever doctrine you find to be clearly propounded, asserted, or suggested, either in our Articles or Common-Prayer Book, you may and ought to rest fully satisfied in your minds that that is the true doctrine of the Apostles, which you ought to continue firm and steadfast in", and I've found no valid reason to deny that.
Then how do you explain the unreformed Christian faiths, us Catholics and the estranged Eastern churches, not having homosexual marriage, WO, and other forms of gender confusion in our doctrine?
Continuing Anglicans don't have homosexual marriage, either. It's only the civil religion oriented, burned-out, numerically declining mainline churches in the West that have gone antinomian on homosexuality. Making that argument would be like me pointing to the vocal "women priests" movement, or, if you will, various forms of cafeteria Catholicism as proof of the secularism of the modernists. Anglican doctrine doesn't allow for it. That there are rebellious elements in the churches that do it is another thing. Don't forget that at least in the US, WO was at the very first done illegally, unconstitutionally, and uncanonically.
But the Continuing churches are small squabbling sects. Clearly the universal church of the centuries and in just about every place can't be that. The Carolines' church was invented by them; you're right that the Anglo-Catholics' attempt to shelve the Articles was intellectually dishonest just like Modernism. That's why Newman converted.
But so what? Dogma isn't a majority vote. Surely you would agree with me on this, because if you didn't you'd see the apparent dilemma. I'd add that it's not all down to the Continuers. There are a huge number of African and Asian Anglican Provinces that do not ordain women and have very serious legal restrictions on homosexuality in their cultures, let alone in the ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons.
"Dogma isn't a majority vote." No, it's not. The thing is, the universal church does a better job of teaching those truths than a gaggle of sects with purple fever (lots of wannabe bishops; not a lot of parishioners). So I don't see the point of reinventing the wheel by starting another church! "There are a huge number of African and Asian Anglican Provinces..." Protestants: "The church got it wrong until our godly framers made it right. Jesus is sure lucky to have us." No, thanks.
Don't look now, John, but it looks like Papa Francis may be reinventing the wheel himself. I guess I'm a pretty conservative Anglican high churchman. I don't see any dilemma in that at all. I've been an Anglican since the time of Lambeth '98, and I've never received the ministrations of a priestess nor have been asked to marry two men or two women. I'm praying, ministering, and fighting for the same things the Anglican fathers were, and in their time they had to work within periods of sometimes severe moral decline. I'd be the first to admit and agree with you that the current malaise is very severe, and the Christian faith is under attack in ways it never has been before.
I was an Anglican because my dad left the Catholic Church after marrying an Episcopalian; I was baptized in '66. I was a would-be Catholic seemingly sucker-punched by Spong-ism, women's ordination, and homosexualism, then I read the Articles honestly and put 2 and 2 together. I never wanted to be a Protestant.

Ha ha; I was expecting the Pope Francis remark. No problem: papal infallibility is part of church infallibility (which your Articles deny, hence WO and same-sex marriage, for example), which limits the Pope to defending our doctrine. Pope Francis doesn't have the authority to change it.

The universal church is all the inclusivity I need.

It's Rome or the abyss, folks. By Rome I mean our doctrine, not Catholic churchmen's opinions, even the Pope's.


  1. But on the Continent the Roman Catholic church is not doing too much better either. In France,virtually all of the parishes in the small villages are now closed or offer mass (or the deranged mess that passes as such) only once every few weeks. With virtually no on attending.

  2. It's Rome or the abyss, folks. By Rome I mean our doctrine, not Catholic churchmen's opinions, even the Pope's. This seems to suggest some very strange metaphysics. What happened to Bellarmine's saying that the Church is as visible as the Republic of Venice. If the Church can subsist independently of the men and institutions in Rome, this idea is indeed far reaching.

    1. I believe that Bellarmine both clearly acknowledged that a pope could teach heresy and went on to discuss the implications and remedies in the event of such a situation. So his claim that the Church is as visible as the Republic of Venice did not seem to involve, for him, any "far reaching" ideas about the divisibility of the Church, or of its "subsistence" in various distinct bodies (or "branches") not in eucharistic communion with one another - or at least one should identify and discuss any inconsistencies or "strange metaphysics" in Bellarmine's highly systematic writings in order to make such a case..

    2. The Republic of Venice.

      Right; "Bellarmine both clearly acknowledged that a pope could teach heresy and went on to discuss the implications and remedies in the event of such a situation." I don't see the problem. I said there's doctrine, the church as visible as the Republic of Venice, and then there are churchmen's opinions, even those of Popes, which do not speak for the church. So a churchman's wrong opinion doesn't mean there's no visible true church.


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