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)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The winding sheet

My absence from this blog is the direct result of slipping, falling, and almost sliding off this mortal coil. Fortunately, the sheet was not required.

Two weeks ago today, at 2:00 AM, I drove myself to the emergency room, thinking simultaneously that I was a fool and, yet, also that I was surely dying. This was the right move. One should not practice medicine without a license. I was ultimately diagnosed -- after several lovely possibilities such as TB or MRSA were ruled out -- as suffering from some form of pneumonia, excessive pleural effusion, requiring a chest tube to siphon off litre after litre after litre of fluid, along with an anaerobic bacterium busy chewing a 3 cm in diameter hole in my lung (or an abscess).

But thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, I was revived. During my stay in hospital, I could only think about all those people in the nineteenth century who took to their beds, never to rise again.

Now that recovery is in sight, after several more weeks of daily intravenous antibiotics, the need to "regularize" my ecclesiastical situation has become front and center. I need to remove my name from the rolls of TEC. The Anglican Catholic Church is in almost complete alignment with my theology but will be of no use whatever if I am found unconscious in Duluth or Spokane or Buffalo. Western Rite Orthodoxy is equally tiny and is actively shunned by many mainline Eastern Orthodox: the Greek archdiocese here told its people to have no truck whatsoever with those sorts. The ACNA is bigger but somewhat haphazard in its organization and the potential for future difficulties remain. So it is going to have to be either RC or EO because there is just no other viable choice. And so, more to come.


  1. Glad to hear of your recovery, at the same time as hearing of your illness! God heal & guide you.

    An interesting crossroads to arrive at. Your own choice is no business of mine, but I arrived at the point of making my own choice seven years ago, and had the benefit of a local Benedictine monastery and a gentle and holy advisor there, otherwise I may never have crossed the Tiber. And then the Ordinariate arrived out of nowhere, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I experienced the pull of Orthodoxy at the time, but I felt that it was a cop out: as a Western European I felt I had to face up to the banality and the mess of modern Catholicism.

    All I will say is that it seems to me that the Ordinariate - and Catholicism - needs people who are not interested simply in Anglican liturgical patrimony, but especially in theological patrimony, and that this dialogue with Catholic theology is where the real locus of ecumenism now stands. So whatever you do, don't give up the tenor and interests of your offerings here!

  2. I am so sorry to hear of your illness. I shall be praying for you.

    As regards your spiritual transition, I would suggest a focus upon two things: 1) to what extent the doctrine of the church in question is true; and 2) whether the liturgy used in that church assists you in approaching theosis. Everything else is secondary.

  3. My poor prayers for your recovery. It sounds like a harrowing experience.

    As to your religious thoughts, I am reminded of Dr. Johnson's quote:
    "Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."