We deny to claim "any Superiority to ourself
to defyne, decyde, or determyn any Article or Poynt
of the Christian Fayth and Relligion,
or to chang any Ancient Ceremony of the Church
from the Forme before received and observed
by the Catholick and Apostolick Church."

Norman Simplicity

Norman Simplicity
Click image for original | © Vitrearum (Allan Barton)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Monster Mashup

Here is a collage of thoughts and expressions, authored by others, that I may or may not agree with. YMMV. [Oddities of HTML and misspellings have been corrected by me.]

I. How not very good and how not very pleasant.

One of the realities that advocates and members of the Anglican Way have to face in the USA is the divided state of what has been called the “Continuum” or “the Continuing Anglican Churches.” These bodies (or the original components of them) separated from the Episcopal Church in the 1970s, often as a haven for conscientious laity, clergy, and even parishes that had been persecuted in the ECUSA for their faith. Their announced purpose was to maintain classic Anglican orthodoxy in doctrine, liturgy, and polity.

Thus it is that the divisions of the Continuum bring embarrassment and pain to all faithful Anglicans seeking to fulfill the same purpose, for they cause good people to be set against each other. Furthermore, ordinary people (either as observers or as victims of these divisions) find it difficult to see why there should be so many competing Continuing groups (20 plus) 'each with its own bishops' claiming to be authentic jurisdictions of the one Anglican Way. The question becomes in their minds, “Was this a painful but necessary separation for the sake of the faith, or was it only an institutional secession for the sake of the ambition of men?”

Too many bishops!

II. Was heisst Anglo-Katholizismus?

But, Anglo-Catholicism is not merely a mater of external ritual affinity with the medieval Latin church. Indeed, the truism that the rule of faith follows the rule of worship, necessitates that all substantial liturgical divergence are ultimately grounded in substantive theological differences. And ... we easily deduce that the source of the difference between Anglicanism and Anglo-Catholicism is one and same with that which marks the difference between the Counter-Reformation and the English Reformation: the Council of Trent and its affirmation of the most objectionable, sectarian, medieval Latin religious developments.

Like the continental Old Catholics before them, Anglo-Catholics stake no dogmatic claim in Trent, and thus do not typically enumerate it as an express formulary. This typical omission, however, is a long practiced partial deception handed down from the original Anglo-Catholicis, who were nevertheless patently and visibly children of Counter-Reformation faith and practice even if they do not walk in lock step with their Roman Catholic brethren. Indeed, American Anglo-Catholics not only follow Tridentine liturgical patterns, but encourage popular Tridentine spiritual disciplines and personal piety, as well as champion divines who teach, propagate, and promote the mostly a line of theological opinions and speculation consistent with the Council Trent, many of which doctrines are expressly condemned by the Articles of Religion ...

Moreover, it is precisely this adherence to the spirit of the Counter-Reformation, through the vehicle of an historically inaccurate understanding of the Affirmation of St. Louis, combined of course with a simultaneous rejection of the Papal claims, that motivates Bishop Robinson to accurately and insightfully characterize the Anglo-Catholic ascendency within the Continuum, not as continuing authentic Anglicanism, but rather engineering an entirely new, ahistorical creature appropriately described as “a species of Old Catholicism.”

Nein! Keine Päpste für uns! Aber, das Prager Jesulein? Ja wohl!

III. Because I do not hope to turn again.

The problem with the Anglican Church in North America is not the same as that of The Episcopal Church. In the Episcopal Church the issue is apostasy. The historic Faith has been knowingly rejected. Within the Anglican Church in North America it is a teaching issue. Thousands who are members of the Anglican Church in North America have a sense of the Faith and want to be faithful Anglicans, but have never seen it modeled or really experienced classical Anglicanism. They have grown up seeing women in collars and may have never experienced worship according to the historic Book of Common Prayer. They need love, careful teaching, and time to work things out in their minds, not condemnation and rejection. Even St. Athanasius worked with the Semi-Arians to defeat the Arians. And the result? The triumph of the Nicene Faith. The Arians were defeated and the Semi-Arians were won to orthodoxy. If we are unwilling to reach out to, teach and win, what might be described as semi-Anglicans, is there any point in even talking about reaching the unchurched?

Last Chance Saloon?


  1. I would take some issue with the statement, "These bodies (or the original components of them) separated from the Episcopal Church in the 1970s, often as a haven for conscientious laity, clergy, and even parishes that had been persecuted in the ECUSA for their faith." The bishops illustrated in your post are in the "continuing" Anglican Church in America or Traditional Anglican Communion. Louis Falk, founder of both (and previously a mover in the St Louis Affirmation and ACC, was deposed as an Episcopal priest in 1965, most assuredly not for doctrinal reasons. The same applies to James Hiles, seated center in the photo, deposed as an Episcopal priest in 1995, most assuredly not for doctrinal reasons. The two other US ACA bishops shown, Strawn and Marsh, were never ordained in TEC, Strawn simply because his seminary was not accredited, Marsh mysteriously because, though he went from aspirant to postulant to candidate for holy orders in TEC (at General Theological Seminary, presumably having no objection to its liberal bent) his TEC bishop for whatever reason chose not to ordain him. The reason continuing bishops become continuing bishops is they've been deposed in TEC or were never considered qualified for ordination in the first place. None of these men is a victim of TEC; several never had a chance to be one.

    It's possible to commit the logical fallacy of hypostatization with the continuum, giving something that is purely imaginary a concrete existence.

  2. I would, of course, tend to agree: "the original components ... separated the 1970s" have borne little fruit. Plus they aren't even very Anglican. Most of the individuals pictured are extremely dubious, IMHO, for the very reasons you articulate. It's beginning to look like the ACNA or nothing. (But, I rarely speak my own mind here -- I just don't like the hate mail.)