Saturday, March 13, 2010

Caught in the Middle

In the latest issue of “The Latin Mass” magazine Editor in Chief John W. Blewit made the following remarks; “…the USCCB has returned to its usual bureaucratic form in taking on a political issue that is best left to the deliberations of elected politicians. The U.S. Bishops have announced a campaign to mobilize (Roman) Catholics for comprehensive immigration reform led by Bishops of Salt Lake City, Utah and Albany, New York. Their committee includes two nuns-one a sister of Notre Dame from Cleveland, Ohio, and the other a Sister of Saint Joseph from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania- and a staff member of the USCCB. This self-serving and politically correct committee is bound to increase the number of meetings for the bureaucrats in the Church, if that’s possible.”

And; “Pope Benedict XVI has taken the initiative to entice Anglican traditionalists (an oxymoron to say the least) to convert to Roman Catholicism. This gesture on the part of Pope Benedict prompted Austen Lueveigh, a former adviser to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, to comment that the Pope’s announcement is ‘historic because it allowed for the gradual absorption into the Roman Catholic Church huge numbers of Anglicans who are conservative in their Theology and Liturgy.’ What Pope Benedict has done with his new provisions allows groups of Anglicans from around the world to join new parishes headed by former Anglican prelates who will provide spiritual guidance to Anglicans who wish to be Roman Catholics. Called “personal ordinariates” they will be established within local Roman Catholic dioceses.”

I respect traditional Roman Catholics (not an oxymoron in my book) and wish them God's blessing. I also appreciate “Latin Mass” magazine pointing out that those who join Rome will be “former Anglicans.”


Fr. David said...

You make a very good point. One cannot "swim the Tiber" and remain Anglican.

James said...

No, one cannot. You cannot consider the Vicar of Christ as the visual head of the Church and remain an Anglican.

Yet, nor can an Anglican who truly believes in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament be an Anglican. There is only one Church that teaches the fullness of Eucharistic theology, and that's the Roman Catholic Church. Since Anglican clergy do not consider themselves a sacrificial priesthood, clearly they do not believe the doctrine of transubstantiation, so one who do believes, by extension, be received into the Roman Catholic Church.

One cannot be a true Catholic without adhering to the entirety of Catholic tradition. The term "Anglican Catholic" is an oxymoron.

Fr. John said...

Dear James,

Thanks for taking time to read the post.

You surely didn't mean that the name "Anglican Catholic" was an oxymoron, nor did the publisher of "Latin Mass" magazine. The definition of an oxymoron is not "two words that are mutually exclusive" which is what you thought, but rather "two concepts that seem contradictory but illustrate a more complex truth. So the correct definition of oxymoron does indeed embrace the name "Anglican Catholic."

As for your comments about the "real presence" which you call "transubstantiation" I invite you to read then Cardinal Ratzinger's writings on this topic which mirror those of the ancient undivided church as well as the Anglican reformers, and please do not forget the Eastern Orthodox Churches, but maybe you don't consider them "catholic" either?

Both orthodox Anglicans and the Eastern Orthodox mainstream do consider the pope to be the universal primate, however there is great disagreement about his claim to be able to speak infallibly as well as his claim to be able to directly intervene in any diocese at his discretion.

All well catechized Christians long for what Pope John Paul II called "a positive ecumenism." Pope Benedict is moving in that direction and should be commended for it.

And whatever you might think or believe both we and the Eastern Churches have always been, and remain catholic. I hope the Roman Church can do the same.

Fr. David said...

Read "The Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating Bishops, Priests, and Deacons" beginning on page 529 of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. The Preface was written by Cranmer. I believe that this Form is more Catholic than that of the Roman Church. The Doctrine of the Real Presence is maintained in the Anglican Way and the term "Real Presence" is used by Roman Catholic theologians rather than "transubstantiation."

Fr Richard Sutter SSM said...

I must say that it seems to me that there are four trajectories in Anglicanism today, trajectories that will culminate in different (naturally) goals. I see these as follows:
First, Anglicans who are in communion with the Holy See, in the announced-but-yet-unerected Anglican Ordinariates, and Anglicans who are in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch, the "Western Rite Orthodox."
Second, Anglicans who are in the continuing Church, in a reunited Anglican Catholic Church.
Third, Anglicans who are in communion with the new uber-primate of a Global South centred New Anglican Communion.
Fourth, Anglicans who have completely departed Christianity but like to dress up and probably by then ordain transsexual non-human species.

Of these four, I respectfully suggest that the last group isn't entitled to use the word "Anglican" and will probably litigate against any others who do, and the third group will be pentecostals in polo shirts and albs. Of course, the first two are the only ones that will continue to possess an Anglican patrimony.

Fr. John said...

Fr. Sutter,

I think you just separated out the Catholics from the Protestants and what Protestants ultimately turn into, e.g. Unitarians.

An observation, the fourth class of "Anglicans" you describe, there is no dynamic tension between them and the world, let alone the flesh and the Devil. There is only the old tension as articulated and personified by Marx, Bakunin, and Trotsky of collecting the "most despised, rejected and oppressed of the world to fuel the revolution." Except they have a very different idea of what kind of people populate that class from Jesus.

One of the great fractures of the communist dominated Spanish dictatorship occurred when the Trotskyists wanted to expand the revolutionary cadres by including homosexuals, pederasts, pimps and certain classes of violent criminals. The more rational members of the leftists coalition in the Spanish government balked at this and fighting broke out in Madrid itself allowing General Franco's Nationalist Army to finally get into the city.

I think we are seeing something similar in the revolutionary takeovers of TEC, ELCA, et. al.

As to your first category, which I assume includes yourself, I think you are correct that you will remain a type of Anglican, although canonically speaking you will be a Roman Catholic.

You will remain Anglican because the left wing dominated American Roman Church will segregate you, try to marginalize you, and/or co-opt you. That's not my wish for you, but based on my own experience with the Roman communion.

Thanks for your comments.