Thus, good Christian reader, ye see how it is no new thing, though at this day the religion of Christ be entertained with despites and checks, being but lately restored, and as it were, coming up again anew ... That we have so gotten ourselves away from that Church, which they had made a den of thieves, and wherein nothing was in good frame, or once like to the Church of God, and which, themselves confessed, had erred many ways, even as Lot in times past gat him out of Sodom, or Abraham out of Chaldea, not upon a desire of contention, but by the warning of God Himself. And that we have searched out of the Holy Bible, which we are sure cannot deceive, one sure form of religion, and have returned again unto the primitive Church of the ancient fathers and Apostles; that is to say, to the first ground and beginning of things, as unto the very foundations and headsprings of Christ's Church.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
The Liturgy is the old name for our Eucharistic service. It was originally applied to it alone. Morning and Evening Prayer are known by the name of the Divine Office. The Liturgy and the Divine Office are the combination of the synagogue and the temple service. The Anglican communion has preserved the two in better proportions than any other religious body. She has marked their distinction by a careful architectural division of her chancels into choir and sanctuary. In Roman churches this distinction is not made. There, indeed, we find an altar and an altar service, but, save the unvarying meagre Sunday vespers, no public recitation of the Divine Office. In sectarian bodies we have a synagogue service, but no altar.
Thus Rome and the sects represent a mutilated form of Christian worship. Both the synagogue and the temple worship are of divine origin or sanction, and in the new dispensation they passed on, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, into their glorified Christian condition ...
The recitation of the Decalogue in this place is a peculiarity of the Anglican rite. Let us not therefore disparage it, but rather glorify it; for may we not humbly believe that in the development of the Liturgy each portion of Christendom bears its own witness to the faith and has its own special liturgical glories? Our Liturgy, beginning with the Decalogue and omitting the Gloria in Excelsis, is in striking contrast with the Roman. We can admit that the Roman order is more in accord with the primitive liturgies, and that there is something very beautiful in beginning the drama of Christ's life and death with the angels' song at Bethlehem. But yet it is a grand idea—a grander one, we venture to think—to throw the mind first of all back behind the scene of Bethlehem into the eternal counsels themselves and into the presence of the ever-blessed Trinity. The recitation of the Decalogue does this. It places us before the awful grandeur of God Himself, and enshrines us in the splendour of His glory. For the recitation of the Decalogue is not a promulgation of an arbitrarily imposed code of laws to regulate human conduct, but is a revelation of the divine nature by laws which could not have been otherwise than they are, any more than the rays of the sun could differ from its source. The Decalogue reveals the unique and perfect being of the Almighty; the sanctity of His Name; the marvellous combination of the dual principle of unceasing activity and absolute rest in His nature; the order and subordination found in the divine life itself, the basis of that order which holds family and state together. It brings us before God Himself, the eternal source of life Who makes all human life and its propagation sacred, the absolute justice and essential truth, the one and only all-satisfying end of us otherwise covetous mortals. In the presence of that absolute perfection we shrivel into nothingness, and deplore our own sinful condition, and make our ever-needful plea for mercy. Surely there is something very deep and solemnizing in thus bringing the soul before the piercing splendour of the attributes of God.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
A man's dealings with women can be purely physical (they cannot really, of course: but I mean he can refuse to take other things into account, to the great damage of his soul (and body) and theirs); or 'friendly'; or he can be a 'lover' (engaging and blending all his affections and powers of mind and body in a complex emotion powerfully coloured and energized by 'sex'). This is a fallen world. The dislocation of sex-instinct is one of the chief symptoms of the Fall. The world has been 'going to the bad' all down the ages. The various social forms shift, and each new mode has its special dangers: but the 'hard spirit of concupiscence' has walked down every street, and sat leering in every house, since Adam fell. We will leave aside the 'immoral' results. These you desire not to be dragged into. To renunciation you have no call. 'Friendship' then? In this fallen world the 'friendship' that should be possible between all human beings, is virtually impossible between man and woman. The devil is endlessly ingenious, and sex is his favourite subject. He is as good every bit at catching you through generous romantic or tender motives, as through baser or more animal ones. This 'friendship' has often been tried: one side or the other nearly always fails. Later in life when sex cools down, it may be possible. It may happen between saints. To ordinary folk it can only rarely occur: two minds that have really a primarily mental and spiritual affinity may by accident reside in a male and a female body, and yet may desire and achieve a 'friendship' quite independent of sex. But no one can count on it. The other partner will let him (or her) down, almost certainly, by 'falling in love'. But a young man does not really (as a rule) want 'friendship', even if he says he does. There are plenty of young men (as a rule). He wants love: innocent, and yet irresponsible perhaps. Allas! Allas! that ever love was sinne! as Chaucer says. Then if he is a Christian and is aware that there is such a thing as sin, he wants to know what to do about it ...
However, the essence of a fallen world is that the best cannot be attained by free enjoyment, or by what is called 'self-realization' (usually a nice name for self-indulgence, wholly inimical to the realization of other selves); but by denial, by suffering. Faithfulness in Christian marriage entails that: great mortification. For a Christian man there is no escape. Marriage may help to sanctify & direct to its proper object his sexual desires; its grace may help him in the struggle; but the struggle remains. It will not satisfy him – as hunger may be kept off by regular meals. It will offer as many difficulties to the purity proper to that state, as it provides easements. No man, however truly he loved his betrothed and bride as a young man, has lived faithful to her as a wife in mind and body without deliberate conscious exercise of the will, without self-denial. Too few are told that — even those brought up 'in the Church'. Those outside seem seldom to have heard it. When the glamour wears off, or merely works a bit thin, they think they have made a mistake, and that the real soul-mate is still to find. The real soul-mate too often proves to be the next sexually attractive person that comes along. Someone whom they might indeed very profitably have married, if only —. Hence divorce, to provide the 'if only'. And of course they are as a rule quite right: they did make a mistake. Only a very wise man at the end of his life could make a sound judgement concerning whom, amongst the total possible chances, he ought most profitably to have married! Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might have found more suitable mates. But the 'real soul-mate' is the one you are actually married to. You really do very little choosing: life and circumstance do most of it (though if there is a God these must be His instruments, or His appearances). It is notorious that in fact happy marriages are more common where the 'choosing' by the young persons is even more limited, by parental or family authority, as long as there is a social ethic of plain unromantic responsibility and conjugal fidelity. But even in countries where the romantic tradition has so far affected social arrangements as to make people believe that the choosing of a mate is solely the concern of the young, only the rarest good fortune brings together the man and woman who are really as it were 'destined' for one another, and capable of a very great and splendid love. The idea still dazzles us, catches us by the throat: poems and stories in multitudes have been written on the theme, more, probably, than the total of such loves in real life (yet the greatest of these tales do not tell of the happy marriage of such great lovers, but of their tragic separation; as if even in this sphere the truly great and splendid in this fallen world is more nearly achieved by 'failure' and suffering). In such great inevitable love, often love at first sight, we catch a vision, I suppose, of marriage as it should have been in an unfallen world. In this fallen world we have as our only guides, prudence, wisdom (rare in youth, too late in age), a clean heart, and fidelity of will.
-- From a letter to Michael Tolkien 6-8 March 1941
I don't want to start a fight, but I can't understand this at all:
Marriage is not a proper subject of dogmatic theology, but at most of moral or pastoral theology. There is no core doctrine concerning marriage, and it is doubtful that the subject warrants a doctrine at all, and at least some of the efforts to construct a theological defense of marriage do more harm to theology than help to marriage. The church did very well without much doctrinal reflection on marriage for centuries. The creeds and classical Anglican catechisms are silent on it. The Articles of Religion refer to it as an estate allowed, and available to clergy as they see fit. There is no settled doctrine of marriage, only changing rules, laws, rites and ceremonies — all of these, as the Articles also remind us, subject to amendment by the church [my emphases].
[I'm not going to link back to the source but you can simply 'google it', if curious. I don't want traffic noted in a web log to ignite another pointless flame war! I am reconciled to the fact that the author and I simply will never agree. Yet, the general topic remains: Is the Bible a Moral Standard?]
So I humbly return to the meagre subject of the last post: Article VII.
Although the law [lex] given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites [ceremonias et ritus], do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts [praecepta] thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth [republica]; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments [obendientia mandatorum] which are called moral.
I can resolutely reject homophobia and easily admit civil partnerships into our polity (just as I must allow divorce and contraception and circumscribed abortion). But I cannot nullify Jewish moral law. In particular, I cannot o'erleap the persistence in Jewish law and custom of carefully separating life from death. For although I (personally) may fail to keep apart flesh (death) and milk (life), I do not thereby reject the ideal principle behind such activity.
Christianity stems from a deeply Judaic background, not from an Egyptian, Canaanite or Indian religious context. There is nothing interesting to be said about homosexuality from a world-historical perspective: it, like many things, simply is. There is only something to say to those of us who see ourselves bound to a particular tradition of texts and practices.
Monday, July 21, 2014
There is one theology and one attitude with which I will have no truck: Supersessionism and Antisemitism. I suspect that many need to ask themselves how much of each they may readily encounter in the congregations they frequent (no matter where they fall on any pre-conceived spectrum).
Although it is gratifying that our communion may have, on occasion, actually got something right, viz.
From the early days of the Church, many Christian interpreters saw the Church replacing Israel as God's people. The destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem was understood as a warrant for this claim. The Covenant of God with the people of Israel was seen only as a preparation for the coming of Jesus. As a consequence, the Covenant with Israel was considered to be abrogated.
This theological perspective has had fateful consequences. As Christians understood themselves to replace the Jews as God's people, they often denigrated the Judaism that survived as a fossilized religion of legalism. The Pharisees were thought to represent the height of that legalism; Jews and Jewish groups were portrayed as negative models; and the truth and beauty of Christianity were thought to be enhanced by setting up Judaism as false and ugly. Unfortunately, many of the early Church fathers defamed the Jewish people.
I consider that the founders had already set the correct temper and tone, several centuries ago:
Saturday, July 19, 2014
When Saint John’s was founded in 1843, the tradition of worship established for the parish by Bishop Whittingham of Maryland was patterned on the full Catholic tradition of the Church of England/Episcopal Church as expressed in the Tractarian and Oxford Movements of the nineteenth century, which were Reformed reclamations of the Catholic principles (Tractarian) and expressions (Oxford) of the ancient liturgies of the Church. These were a deliberate challenge to the meager offerings found in most Maryland churches, where both the Holy Communion and the daily prayers of the Church had fallen into widespread disuse. This older tradition of worship was meant to restore the “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving” which are the marks of the worship of the Church.
Saint John’s, together with other parochial foundations by Bishop Whittingham in the same period, evolved to become a leading exponent of what later was called “The English Use” in both liturgy and music. The ancient Catholic liturgies of the Church, zealously truncated and purged of many traditional elements during The Reformation, were restored using the English Book of Common Prayer, together with authorized material from the ancient English liturgical Uses of Sarum (Salisbury), Lincoln, London, Westminster and others. These restorations came to full flower in the English Church in the scholarly liturgical masterwork called The Parson’s Handbook by Dr Percy Dearmer, published in 1899. It was widely disseminated in America almost immediately. This book, continuously revised and updated, had gone through seven editions by 1905. It’s use continued through the fourteenth edition in the late 1960’s well into the modern liturgical reforms in England and America, which resulted in the full incorporation of its principles in the revised Prayer Books of the 1970’s (America) and 1980’s (England). Some variation of its principles and ceremonial were at use in many, if not most, parishes throughout the Episcopal Church until quite recently ...
We strive to preserve the best of our Anglican heritage while avoiding “British Museum” religion. We are traditional in worship, but fully engaged with modern realities. We are not “precious and mechanical”. We are not “Anglo-Catholic”, in what has become that term’s modern sense: importing the customs, ethos, vesture, and style of the nineteenth century Roman Catholic Church into Anglican services. We maintain the distinct English Catholic heritage of the Anglican liturgy, vesture, pastoral tradition, and ethos as valuable to the present generation for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all races and clans today.
i.e., click on the hyperlink.
Within the Church itself, many people, particularly the older clergy, harbour a residual antagonism to Morning Prayer, which was long viewed as an obstacle to recovering the Eucharist as the principal service of the week. In some circles Morning Prayer is still quite unfairly looked upon as a reactionary excess of the Reformation, the sooner buried the better.
Moreover, Sung Mattins came to be regarded as a symbol of the spiritual deadness of the Anglican Church, an aesthetic exercise in nostalgia for half-Christian members of the establishment. In the last ten years, the offices, with the rest of the Prayer Book, have come under fire by feminists for their language and association with patriarchy.
Moreover, in Canada, the spiritual disciplines of the Anglican Church, like Western Christianity generally, suffers from familiarity. People who have had some peripheral contact with the church imagine that they have examined it and found it wanting. In fact, they have yet to examine it. Evensong has, except on special occasions, disappeared as a public office in most of our churches, and Mattins is on the endangered list, often a fifth Sunday crumb tossed to Prayer Book supporters who are increasingly disposed to be grateful for small mercies.
When God seems to be breaking down what He hath built, and plucking up what He hath planted; when we know not how soon our house may be left unto us desolate; let us not then, of all times, be seeking great things for ourselves; neither in the way of temporal safety and ease, nor even in the way of spiritual assurance and comfort; but let us turn our thoughts more dutifully than ever to the plain straightforward keeping of the Commandments of God, to the calls and obligations of every hour and moment; to purity, charity, humility, and the fear of God: accounting it a great thing, if we do but probably see our way in the very next step we are to take, and if we have but a reasonable chance of being in God's Church now, and of pardon and peace when we come to the eternal world ...
"If the Communion in which you are placed by God's Providence has prima facie the most evident notes of the Church, all except visible Communion with other parts of Christendom: if it appear to be linked by due succession with those who were sent out to preach among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem: if it acknowledge the same Scriptures, and interpret them by the same Creeds, as did the whole Church in her days of perfect union: if it seem also to possess the Holy Sacraments unmutilated in all things essential, or at least as completely so as those who invite you away from it: (for surely the omission of the Cup in the Eucharist is in itself a greater liberty to take with the institution of Jesus Christ, than any deviation allowed by us from the services of the early Church;)—if your Church, moreover, pray constantly for the actual Communion which it unhappily wants, and have never yet forfeited it, as the Donatists did, by pronouncing other Churches out of the Body of Christ:—then continue in it, and do your best for it, by prayer, by good works, by patience, by self-denial, by humility: not encouraging in yourself any doubt of Christ's Presence within it, but so endeavouring to realize that Presence, that you may do what in you lies towards recovering the fulness of His grace, both for this and for other portions of His Body: full and actual as well as virtual unity: full and definite guidance in all material points, as well as in the fundamentals of the Faith: full Sacraments where they are now mutilated: the body of discipline where there is now but the desire of it: encouragement for high and self-denying rules of life, where such are now but barely tolerated ..."
Judging by God's doings of old, the way of the Cross is the only way, by which these blessings can ever be restored. And as things stand at present, the mark of the Cross seems rather to belong to those who struggle on in a decayed and perhaps still decaying Church, bearing their burden as they may, than to those who allow their imaginations to dwell on fancied improvements, and blessings to be obtained on possible changes of Communion.
-- John Keble
In a better circumstance, we could dispense with all the "Isms" and other political party words. Nothing is advanced thereby, as the debate typically turns on semantics, or "that's not what I call x-ism!"
I think, at root, the divisions in the modern world can be resolved into three basic types. (My arrival at one of these "types" stems simply from my inability to accommodate to the other two.)
Type 1: "To the first view there corresponds the idea that human nature is depraved and that a man, if left to himself, is essentially wicked. Psychologically there seems to be at the bottom of such a negative view, the fact of conversion ... reacting against the inclinations and propensities of their earlier life ... In the specifically Christian context such men are usually prone to base their devotion to the next world on a hatred of this world rather than on pure love for the object of their devotion. Such an attitude will in general be marked by a fervent hatred of all half-measures and compromises which will always appear as concessions to the power of evil ... On the first view a great probability of contradiction between the dictates of reason and revelation is assumed, but truth will be ascribed to revelation alone and the results of rational inquiry will be disparaged as satanic illusions likely to contradict revealed truth."
Type 2: "To the second view there corresponds a theory of human nature which is much more balanced in that it takes equal account of the human and the divine. The all-permeating spirit here is one of love, a love for the world which is indirectly a creation of God and as such good, as well as a love for God Himself. Psychologically one finds here a firm faith that has arisen naturally without conversion, sufficient trust to accept the natural parts of life without suspicion or bitterness and yet enough humility to recognize their ultimate imperfections and the need for a higher supplement, the divine revelation."
Type 3: "To the third type, finally, there corresponds a theory of human nature that is over-confident. Here we find a full acceptance of all purely human powers and faculties and a sturdy optimism that this world, as it is, is a whole that needs no further supplement or help from beyond. If it were not for the fact that so many men who subscribed to this view have in all sincerity protested their adhesion to the Christian belief in the transcendent end of human life, one would be inclined not to take this last attitude as a Christian attitude at all. At any rate we must note here a strong tendency towards a bifurcation of life in that this last view makes for an encouragement of Christian beliefs together with a toleration of a purely pagan conduct ... The third view, having postulated an absolute independence between the two spheres of reason and revelation, will gladly tolerate the co-existence of two contradictory truths."
"It is only according to the second view that a complete harmony between reason and revelation ... is presupposed."
(I won't muddy things by assigning contemporary sorts to this typology. But I suspect that most of us have encountered all three.)
The first used to be dominant but has been gradually eclipsed, since the Enlightenment, by the third. You could call them 'Cosmic Pessimism' and 'Cosmic Optimism'. I've never been a fan of either.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Since people (apparently) want to know (if it is not already obvious), I am a 'Catholic-minded Anglican'. But what can that possibly mean in the twenty-first century?
Like a lot of people in the nineteenth and twentieth century, I used to confuse that with aping Rome. In the 'Biretta Belt', one simply couldn't be too 'spikey', too Tridentine, too Ultramontane. Of course, the logical outcome of this tact, ultimately, was to abandon Anglicanism altogether and to move one's congregation to a versus populum, Novus Ordo parish. The practical outcome in most places, however, is what we see today: outwardly ritualist parishes completely devoid of order, faith, and morals. Dead end.
My earliest experiences were with what was once known as 'Prayer Book Catholicism' and to that, as well as a more intellectually 'High Church' attitude, I have returned. But only as a more advanced form of 'inner exile'. There is no institutional arrangement available to me any longer. I had some hopes for the Ordinariate (and may yet still). But, mostly, hope for some kind of organized solution is non-existent. I won't say why Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, or the fractured Continuum do not appeal -- as that will issue in nothing but hate and froth -- but, for me, they simply do not.
Nothing here is a condemnation of what others decide works for them. This blog concerns itself with the provisional, not the eternal, and the theoretical, not the practical. The goal? "Restoring the Anglican Mind": "a retrieval of riches" from within our "own household." (I think that there is a lot that is there, undiscovered and unmined.) Nothing more but, also, nothing less. The proof will be in the proverbial pudding. So little for anyone else to do or see here. Move along. You're free to go.
"Then I'm free to go?"
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Yesterday was too off-putting, no matter how long anticipated; but the new day has already begun.
The inimitable Keble:
These, which have been hitherto mentioned as omens and tokens of an Apostate Mind in a nation, have been suggested by the portion itself of sacred history, to which I have ventured to direct your attention. There are one or two more, which the nature of the subject, and the palpable tendency of things around us, will not allow to be passed over.
One of the most alarming, as a symptom, is the growing indifference, in which men indulge themselves, to other men's religious sentiments. Under the guise of charity and toleration we are come almost to this pass; that no difference, in matters of faith, is to disqualify for our approbation and confidence, whether in public or domestic life. Can we conceal it from ourselves, that every year the practice is becoming more common, of trusting men unreservedly in the most delicate and important matters, without one serious inquiry, whether they do not hold principles which make it impossible for them to be loyal to their Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier? Are not offices conferred, partnerships formed, intimacies courted,—nay, (what is almost too painful to think of,) do not parents commit their children to be educated, do they not encourage them to intermarry, in houses, on which Apostolical Authority would rather teach them to set a mark, as unfit to be entered by a faithful servant of Christ?
I do not now speak of public measures only or chiefly; many things of that kind may be thought, whether wisely or no, to become from time to time necessary, which are in reality as little desired by those who lend them a seeming concurrence, as they are, in themselves, undesirable. But I speak of the spirit which leads men to exult in every step of that kind; to congratulate one another on the supposed decay of what they call an exclusive system.
For a Novus Motus Oxoniensis:
"Sunday, July 14th, Mr. Keble preached the Assize Sermon in the University Pulpit. It was published under the title of 'National Apostasy.' I have ever considered and kept the day, as the start of the religious movement of 1833." So wrote John Henry Newman as the closing words of Part III of his Apologia Pro Vita Sua ...
Keble declared that England had for centuries been acknowledged as a Christian nation. Logically this meant that the nation was bound by the laws of Christ's church. If public opinion was calling for action in defiance of those laws, the nation was apostate.
Oxford men of the highest caliber gathered around Keble and tried to form a plan of action. Among these individuals were two notable scholars, John Henry Newman and Richard Hurrell Froude. In order to bolster its position, the high church movement sought a basis for authority in the past of the church. They looked to creeds and apostolic succession as outward manifestations of ancient authority. Some of the intellectuals who joined the movement also took an interest in reviving the architectural styles and arts which had long been associated with the faith. Newman and others sought a new level of spiritual life for the church with Newman's preaching a sermon titled "Holiness Necessary for Future Blessedness."
Monday, July 14, 2014
Think we will actually make it?
This Catholic religion of Salvation which the gates of hell cannot withstand, we know with our godly forbears in the Anglican communion is ours today, a Catholicism neither Papal nor Protestant but constitutional and apostolic. With Keble, Pusey, and Neale; with Seabury, Hobart, and de Koven we sing, "How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel." And as we pray God's mercy on the souls of all that noble army, both priests and people, who have not yet reached heaven, here at God's altar the priests seem especially near.
"Their own great introibo they have said,
Upon the altar stairs we feel their tread,
They live and serve in light, they are not dead."
Our Communion is Embodied, Lived Tradition; our reference is reality itself -- not actions, words, and signs but, rather, that which those actions, words, and signs signify:
1. The Secure Promises of God
We acknowledge, affirm, testify to, and conserve "those Canonical books of the Old and New testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church" (VI). In particular, we emphasize that the so-called "Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ ... Wherefore they are not to be heard which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises" (VII). In other words, there is but one, unbroken historical covenant between God and his people.
2. The Reality of Effectual Grace
The sacraments are "certain sure witnesses and effectual signs of grace and God's good will towards us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us." There are "two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord" and "five, commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction" (XXV). Our ministers do not minister "in their own name, but in Christ's, and do minister by His commission and authority" and, hence, we "rightly do receive the sacraments ministered ..., which be effectual because of Christ's institution and promise" (XXVI). The Eucharist, for instance, is not merely "a sign ... but rather it is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death" (XXVIII). The old Temple is destroyed but the work of salvation goes on: there is Real Presence and Real Reception, inter alia.
3. The Succession from the Apostles
The visible church is recognizable as the "coetus fidelium, in quo verbum Dei purum praedicatur et sacramenta … recte administrantur." Although there is no perfect model, we refer directly to the historic, yet fallible, examples of "the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch … also the Church of Rome" (XIX). The church has "authority" (XX). Her ministers must be licitly called and ordained: only those "publice concessa ... in ecclesia" are recognized (XXIII). We ordain as sacred ministers "Archbishops and Bishops and ... Priests and Deacons" (XXXVI). No one, through private judgement alone, may modify "the traditions and ceremonies of the Church which be ... ordained and approved by common authority" of the institution (XXXIV). We will affirm no novelties and suffer no non-conformity.
4. The Rectitude of the Primitive Fathers
We approve the three ecumenical creeds (VIII) and, in general, the authority of the "general councils" (XXI), although their decisions must still be put to the ultimate test of conformity with Holy Scripture. Authenticity, antiquity, and true catholicity matter, as well.
5. Our Tradition of Common Worship
To be Anglican means to worship using some recognizable variant of the Book of Common Prayer, derived and adapted from the Use of Sarum, being, hence, in its essentials, a Roman Rite. Lex orandi, lex credendi.
It's easy -- just proceed "progressively," in reverse order:
The 1950s, 60s and 70s:
5'. The worship of the ages is defaced.
4'. Open heresy and abject immorality go unpunished.
3'. We depart dramatically from the tradition of the undivided church.
Only a few more to go! In process, as we speak!
2'. Re-define the sacraments.
1'. Re-define the Law, the Prophets, and the Good News.
And then ...
"But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, standing where it ought not (let him that readeth vnderstand) then let them that be in Iudea, flee to the mountaines."
Rochester the last of many to call conservatives to trust. Seems to me that you only have to do that when trust doesn't really exist :(— David Ould (@davidould) July 14, 2014
Well, that’s it! The 14th July 2014 is a historic date. It is the day that the Church of England finally left the consensus of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church on the nature of the apostolic succession.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
I'm not here to judge people: I'm here to provide "footnotes" to my own thinking, which may, of course, be itself in error. But if there is truth even in error, then I don't need to worry too much: for the attempt to avoid error is error itself. I am stimulated by the thoughts of others, whether or not, that thinking will stand the test. No one has a monopoly on truth. But, in all events, I am not the one to put others to that test.
Point One: The Historic Disaster of Anglo-Papalism
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.
Point Two: The Ultimate Fruits of Anglo-Papalism
Of course, the church has changed. Most of the great Anglo-catholic shrines have changed and become 'affirming' of the innovations on holy orders and/or human sexuality. Few, if any, use the old missal/1928. Those going/gone affirming or teetering include St. Mary the Virgin in NYC, Ascension & St. Agnes in DC (received woman bishop), Advent Boston had a gay marriage, St. Paul's K street has the retired bishop of Minnesota as interim and he has invited women clergy to guest function ...
S. Clement's has become an affirming haven with the retiring rector (and a former curate) flaunting the new religion at the Gay Pride Fest in Philly. Good Shepherd Rosemont hardly seems like it can survive with its diminished membership after the Fr. Moyer debacle, and is less than sound now from what I read on her facebook posts. And the rector who is leaving for St. Clement's is a member of the Society of Catholic Priests, the newest incarnation of the old Affirming Catholic movement. I can't imagine the Diocese of Pennsylvania will allow a solid catholic priest into the diocese to revive it.
And let's not forget the many parishes in NYC that were once catholic bastions but have now gone soft; St. Ignatius & Transfiguration to name just two more (and let us not forget that not too long ago being in the the Diocese of Long Island was a badge of honor for catholic clergy) ...
We must not forget St. Thomas, New York, where an Affirming Catholic has been elected Rector and whose wife is also a priest. Will she be celebrating there too? Also, Church of the Ascension, Chicago recently elected an SCP priest as Rector. Will others be falling soon? God forbid!
Mea maxima culpa.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Anyone who has ever seen the great and wonderful Anglican cathedrals and churches the world over, who has visited the old and famous Colleges in Oxford and Cambridge, who has attended marvellous Evensongs and heard the beauty and eloquence of Anglican prayers, who has read the fine scholarship of Anglican historians and theologians, who is attentive to the significant and long-standing contributions of Anglicans to the ecumenical movement, knows well that the Anglican tradition holds many treasures. These are, in the words of Lumen Gentium, among those gifts which, “belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity” (§8).
Our keen awareness of the greatness and remarkable depth of Christian culture of your tradition heightens our concern for you amidst current problems and crises, but also gives us confidence that with God's help, you will find a way out of these difficulties, and that in a new and fresh manner we will be strengthened in our common pilgrimage toward the unity Jesus Christ wills for us and prayed for ...
... at critical moments in the history of the Church of England and subsequently of the Anglican Communion, you have been able to retrieve the strength of the Church of the Fathers when that tradition was in jeopardy. The Caroline divines are an instance of that, and above all, I think of the Oxford Movement. Perhaps in our own day it would be possible too, to think of a new Oxford Movement, a retrieval of riches which lay within your own household. This would be a re-reception, a fresh recourse to the Apostolic Tradition in a new situation. It would not mean a renouncing of your deep attentiveness to human challenges and struggles, your desire for human dignity and justice, your concern with the active role of all women and men in the Church. Rather, it would bring these concerns and the questions that arise from them more directly within the framework shaped by the Gospel and ancient common tradition in which our dialogue is grounded.
To Anglo-Catholics, Cranmer has always been a problem. Were they to admit his Protestantism and to disown him, or to deny his Protestantism and claim him as a forerunner? Both expedients have repeatedly been tried. For many years this century, particularly under the influence of the great liturgiologist Frere, a compromise originally proposed by Pusey was favoured, which distinguished between the earlier Catholic Cranmer and the later Protestant Cranmer. His earlier stage was represented by the traditional 1549 Prayer Book and his later stage by the Protestant 1552 Prayer Book. The earlier book represented his true mind, whereas the latter book reflected malign influence from the Continent. However, the small changes made to the 1552 Book in 1559, 1603 and 1662 were all in the Catholic direction, it was argued, and a more thorough-going change back to the 1549 pattern, as in many Anglican revisions abroad, was all that was required to bring out the Prayer Book’s true Catholic character.
This Prayer Book Catholicism, once so prevalent, received a shattering blow at the end of the War, with the publication of Dix’s Shape of the Liturgy. According to Dix, the Prayer Book is not subtly Catholic but incurably Protestant. Cranmer’s theology, which it still expresses, was a negative Zwinglianism, and the only consistent course for Anglo-Catholics is to set the Prayer Book on one side and to begin again from Hippolytus and the liturgies of the early Church ... To put the Prayer Book on one side (rather than adapting it, as hitherto) became the accepted policy, and liturgies following the patterns of the early Church, but embodying the agnostic theology of the 1960s, went into mass production. The American Prayer Book is a prime example, but the ASB is a liturgy of much the same kind ...
Of course, to throw over the Prayer Book as hopeless, in Dix’s manner, is really to renounce any claim to be Anglican. What wonder, then, that the modern Anglo-Catholic (now further alienated by the ordination of women) looks with increasingly wistful eyes to Rome? But before he finally hitches his waggon to that star, there are two points that he might be wise to ponder:
(i) Dix’s claim that Cranmer’s theology was a negative Zwinglianism was subsequently disproved. After a prolonged discussion, Peter Brooks’s book Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of the Eucharist (1965) proved, to most people’s satisfaction, that Cranmer’s teaching was much closer to a positive Calvinism than to a negative Zwinglianism. It was therefore on the positive side of the great divide in eucharistic theology laid out by Hooker (Ecclesiastical Polity 5:67), and the indications of this in the text of the Prayer Book are not illusory.
(ii) The original problem which Anglo-Catholics proposed to themselves, what attitude to Cranmer would best distance them from Protestantism, was perhaps misconceived. Protestantism as an unthinking iconoclasm, and Protestantism as a sober reformed Catholicism, are two very different things. The latter was the Protestantism of Hooker, the Caroline divines and the early Nonjurors. Were the Tractarians really wise to discard it? Could this not be a way forward today, on which Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics, and biblical Christians from other traditional churches as well, might learn to agree?
-- Roger Beckwith is Librarian of Latimer House, Oxford.
Friday, July 11, 2014
It was the church’s acceptance of female priests that proved a step too far for many Anglicans. Much like their 19th-century forebears in the Oxford Movement, they too turned to the Tiber, and so the historic strand of Anglican Toryism died with them. Conversion was not an easy decision. It involved a complete revision of their historical and political consciousness. ‘I feel rather like a man standing among packing cases and looking, for the last time, at the bare boards of his old home,’ lamented Charles Moore.
In the divorce between Conservatism and Anglicanism, the blame was put on the church. But the truth was that the party had changed too. Even in the 1980s, Anglican Conservatives were a dying breed. The new generation of Conservative MPs were more libertarian. Future Tory MPs would be sourced from a much wider pool both socially and religiously.
“Outside of the Ordinate, which creamed off the most orthodox and zealous Anglicans and set them up in a safe place where the Catholic bishops couldn't wreck their liturgy, the Catholic Church in England is doing little better than the Anglicans - and only because Catholic immigrants keep coming from healthier countries such as Poland.”
Thursday, July 10, 2014
I think The 39 Articles come in for a lot of abuse and bad press. Of course, this is not news: we were, after all, scrupulously instructed in the "catholic dodge": "I assent to The 39 Articles" means nothing more than "I acknowledge their existence."
Of course, the document is modelled on Lutheran confessions of the Sixteenth Century. But it often departs from these, softens elements, and carefully avoids saying more than it should, again and again. Let's take another look.
Our communion can neither add to nor subtract from the deposit of faith: the Articles are no dogma. They are our doctrine (our attempt to explicate and teach foundational dogma), our theology (our attempt to interpret and expound certain dogmatic issues), and our praxis (our "godly order and discipline"). None of this is infallible and all of it may change. But changes should be organic and rooted only in our improved understandings of Scripture and the Fathers, in light of Catholic tradition. (Note this hermeneutic perspective is Anglican and implicit in the Articles themselves.)
Articles I-VIII merely reiterate orthodox doctrine on the Trinity, Christ, etc, affirm the Scripture and the Creeds, and, thus, recapitulate the refutations of any number of ancient heresies. (The most important points, I would insist, and the least controversial.)
Articles IX-XVIII are the reformed teachings, which ought to be taken in light of new scholarship and such things as the Anglican-Roman Catholic and Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogues. For instance, once pistis christou is rightly understood as "the faithfulness of Christ," I have no problem whatsoever in affirming that we are reckoned as righteous only by the faithfulness of Christ. (Also, Article XI is further "softened" by Article XII ("Of good works").) Article XVII ("De praedestinatione") is careful to elaborate no specific version of the same, beginning by noting, first and foremost, that "the everlasting purpose of God" is praedestinatio ad vitam.
Articles XIX-XXXI are expressions of our Anglican theology, carefully balancing a number of competing claims: the visible church may err (XIX) and (yet) the authority of the church (XX); limiting the scope of Ecumenical Councils (XXI), repudiating Romish innovations (XXII)*, and, yet, demanding ordained ministers (XXIII), etc. etc. It affirms the two great Sacraments -- Baptism and Eucharist -- without altogether repudiating the sacramentality of "Confirmatio, Poenitentia, Ordo, Matrimonium, et Extrema Unctio" (XXV). It affirms our theological embrace of communion in "both kinds" (XXX) and use of "such a tongue as the people understandeth" (XXIV), which certainly does not preclude Latin where it may be understood (especially in the Universities).
Following the clearly descending order of importance, the last, Articles XXXII-XXXIX, articulate our Anglican praxis, beginning with "De Conjugio Sacerdotum" (XXXII). Not much to get excited about here, unless you are a Pacifist or a Jehovah's Witness. (That the Romanus Pontifex "hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England" is clearly a statement of fact.)
Having inhabited many of the different worlds of Anglo-Catholicism, I find myself now going back to my start. Strange, passing strange.
* The 42 Articles are even clearer on this point: what is being rejected here is nothing more than the "Scholasticorum doctrina (Romanensium)" (xxiii).
Postscript: Would that the following practice (from XXXIV, my emphases) be enforced!
Traditiones et caeremonias ecclesiasticas quae cum verbo Dei non pugnant et sunt autoritate publica institutae atque probatae, quisquis privato consilio volens et data opera publice violaverat, is ut qui peccat in publicum ordinem Ecclesiae, quique laedit autoritatem magistratus, et qui infirmorum fratrum conscientias vulnerat, publice, ut caeteri timeant, arguendus est.
Whosoever through his private judgement willingly and purposely doth openly break the traditions and ceremonies of the Church which be not repugnant to the word of God, and be ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly that other may fear to do the like, as he that offendeth against common order of the Church, and hurteth the authority of the magistrate, and woundeth the conscience of the weak brethren.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Fr. Conger is wrong about Anglican doctrine regarding Sacramental Confession, but not because I say so or because I represent a competing camp within the panoply of Anglican parties. He is wrong because the prayer book plainly shows him to be wrong. There is no sense in complaining about the way the secular press covers us as Anglicans until we get this ourselves. There may be multiple emphases and approaches in Anglican theology, but there are not multiple Anglicanisms. There is the religion of the prayer book, which is the religion of the Scriptures and the Fathers, and then there is everything else.
Saturday, July 5, 2014
Formerly known as the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Saviour, it was built in 1855, renovated in 1898, and rebuilt after an April 16, 1902 fire. In 1992 it became the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.
The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
A highly-controversial renovation of the interior was undertaken, 2000-2002, under then-cathedral dean Richard Giles, author of Re-Pitching the Tent: Re-Ordering the Church Building for Worship and Mission. The pews, altar, and other church furniture were removed and sold. Chairs and modern lighting fixtures replaced the traditional fixtures. The stone walls were stuccoed over and whitewashed. The baptismal font was joined by an immersion pool for adults. These actions divided the congregation and were severely criticized in the press.
So much for the best laid plans ... of men: This Church, although so costly, is entirely free from debt, and is not owned by the Corporation, so that it can never be sold or made subject to mortgage or other lien by the Vestry, but is held in trust forever by The Trustees of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, who have no power to lien or sell it.