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, September 15, 2015

Death Becomes Her

No news is good news? To all the world ...:

Having monitored the Anglican news scene for so long, I am noticing a sea change. Some Anglican news outlets seem to be having trouble finding stories to report. There have been slow seasons in Anglican news before, and the period following the Episcopal Church's triennial General Convention (which we are now in) is often one of those seasons.

But this time it is different, and I find myself questioning whether the Anglican news scene will ever be the same again ... For something to be newsworthy, there has to be a certain "Man Bites Dog" element to it; and, frankly, we will never see that kind of newsworthiness from the Episcopal Church ever again.

Gay bishops--done that. Gay marriage--done that. Transgendered clergy--done that. Panentheist theology--now so much a part of the landscape that orthodoxy is virtually extinct. Episcopal Church tries to co-opt African churches with its money--entirely predictable. What is left to surprise us? Polyamory? Rewriting the Prayer Book for a gender-neutral or feminine God? These are just the next stops on the train ride to Perdition. The track is already laid and the destination is certain. Any stops along the way are already mapped. We may even get to the stop where the old canard comes true: "Farmer Marries Cow in Episcopal Ceremony" ...

Now the focus has shifted to the Anglican Communion, where we see the same pattern the Episcopal Church has followed for decades being played out all over again: The official structures become increasingly heterodox, and a orthodox resistance movement forms which becomes the foundation for a movement of renewal.

Too little too late? Catholicity and covenant:

All this might, therefore, be further evidence of a retrieval of the BCP 1662 by catholic Anglicans on this side of the Atlantic, recognising afresh its deeply catholic rhythms as a means of renewing the catholic experience within Anglicanism. Such a retrieval would have a two-fold importance. Firstly, it would enable 1662 to complement contemporary liturgies. The slower, more contemplative pace of the 1662 eucharistic rite, the beauty of Evensong, the use of the ancient collects - here 1662 has particular gifts to offer catholic Anglicans alongside our use of contemporary rites.

Secondly, while perhaps a bit more difficult to define, there is the possibility that a retrieval of 1662 would also contribute to a renewed sense of catholic Anglicans being comfortable about, well, being Anglican. We are bearers of "the patristic and Western Catholic tradition". And yet, it might be the case that we have internalised the Buchanan-Duffy interpretation and, as a result, thrown off the shackles of the 'Protestant' BCP - Anglicanism's foundational liturgical expression. If so, it is hardly surprising that catholic Anglicanism has went through a painful period of dispute and debate about identity, vocation and charism. A confident reassertion of 1662's patristic and catholic ethos could, then, be a means of restoring an understanding of identity, vocation and charism to contemporary catholic Anglicans.

Forward in Faith?

Sunday, September 13, 2015


I know this will seem like unmitigated gall (to some) but I find myself mostly underwhelmed by the following accomplishment:

What undoubtedly has been achieved is the resurrection of a sort of English Missal rite. Subtle changes in words and phrases are nonetheless immediately recognizable to any who know this material by heart. Some changes are not subtle at all: a particularly grotesque example is the Gloria. It's impossible to tell, in addition, just where some of these actions and events actually take place.

What's not there? More than can be mentioned here. The Decalogue, an epiclesis that calls down the Holy Spirit upon people and not things, etc. etc. However, all in all, it is no more sad than any other contemporary reality and certainly superior to either a praise band or a Novus Ordo clown mass. Civilization is nevertheless on its last legs: the barbarians are now storming the citadel.

In what language will you say "I surrender"?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Opus Postumum

The lack of blog posts is due to three unrelated factors: (1) the lengthy recovery required by my illness; (2) a loss of purpose: abandoning the dream of the Ordinariates or continuing Anglicanism has left this blog without premise; and (3) the evident demise of European civilization has become, for me at least, a complete obsession. (Hitler and Stalin must be laughing in Hell.)

I'm still investigating Eastern Christianity but probably more as a well-meaning tourist. Here's a interesting reflection:

... I was raised in Canada as an Anglican, and it was in this context that my love for Christ’s Church was fostered. Like many Anglicans of the ‘Anglo-Catholic’ tradition, though, I asked myself for years what I would do ‘when the time came’. In other words, when it was clear that I could no longer live as a traditionally-minded Anglican, would I become Orthodox or Catholic? And I am sure that I remained in the Anglican Church longer than I might have for this one reason: I was seeking to reconcile my love for Orthodoxy and Orthodox Tradition with my belief in the role of Rome as the See of St Peter and locus of Christian unity.

In saying this, I am well aware that there are Orthodox Christians that may dispute my emphasis on the importance of communion with Rome, and there are Catholics that would wonder how I could possibly love Orthodoxy without the Pope, but I am not really interested in polemics. At the same time as I recognise their legitimate concerns, I look to the Church of the first millennium and see a community that did not agree on all points and expressions of the Faith, but held certain fundamental tenets in common and so communed together, and I look for the same thing in my own ecclesiastical subscription. I suppose this would make me one of those ‘Orthodox in communion with Rome’ folk, not really appreciated by either side ....

I'm sure of only one thing now: whatever group one joins up with names the people you can expect to be murdered with.

It's still more likely that I will choose a different ghetto. Because there is little expectation for the laity to engage in set forms of daily prayer, conforming one's public worship to the Tridentine (albeit à la the execrable 1962), and refusing participation in popular piety, while maintaining a private prayer life organized around the Prayer Book (and meditations with good music of the sort no longer produced or performed) is probably inevitable. But, of course, we shall soon see.

Der Abschied