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)

Sunday, July 5, 2015

On Dangerous Ground

or, Taxonomy redux. Anglo-Catholicism is a slippery beast and at any given time, in the last two centuries, one may discover one taxon morphing into another.

It is easy to generalize though rarely useful. If we speak of "ritualists" -- rather than Anglo-Catholics -- I think one can tease out five different strands that ultimately have collapsed into just two (or perhaps three) residual camps. Here's a graphic.

Those groups marked in green are more non-existent than not. I don't know of any Old High Churches and the number of English Use parishes can probably be numbered on one hand (here's one). There are also a few exceptional cases. These people are history's losers and, so, of course, have my full allegiance. It is an ideal and a practice destined for inevitable destruction.

It's not easy being green.

Almost invariably, we are concerned with those groups marked in yellow. There are those parishes that used to use the Anglican Missal, and now probably use something else, but have retained Tridentine ceremonies and decorations. There are those groupings of Anglo-Papalists, particularly in Britain, that followed the prior lead until things changed: then they adopted the Novus Ordo, set up temporary altars, facing the people, and lost all sense of being Anglican (other than being English). However, a similar destination could be arrived at by a slightly different route: those who followed the Liturgical Movement were antiquarians with, nonetheless, a peculiarly modern vibe. They defended their changes as "ecumenical" rather than strictly Roman. These tended also to be more liberal and sometimes explicitly left-leaning parishes. They wended their way through Alternative Service books (or other experiments) until they arrived at something like the 1979 American BCP.

This last collectio has given us the Continuing movement, the Ordinariate, and the Affirming Catholics. Continuers felt no draw to Rome, while the Ordinaries did. The Continuers were angry with TEC while the Ordinaries viewed it as merely provisional from the start. The rest stayed inside TEC, usually to practice their special form of neo-Pelagianism, or catholic trappings with lesbian witchcraft to boot.

But, of course, it is also possible to mix-and-match elements (or to blend them together, as one sees fit) and so, once again, our attempt to capture that beast in our gossamer net has failed.

Anything Goes!

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