This really is the elevation of wishful thinking to the status of ideology.
"NOT ALL CATHOLICS ARE TRADITIONALISTSIt's really nice to hear from our erstwhile friends now in the AffCaff movement. It's good, too, to see them being - in their generous expressions of sympathy, uncomplicated by practical applications of understanding - so magnanimous in victory. Yet it's amazing how so many of them "saw the light" regarding women's ordination and related 'issues' just about the time the decisive votes in our respective synods took place. And this change of heart had nothing to do with the dangled prospect of red piping or pointy hats, of course; how could I be so bitterly cynical and uncharitable (as some will judge it) in even raising the possibility?
The current debate about the implications of the offer made by his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to make provision for Anglicans who wish to join the Roman Catholic Church ignores one important fact. The majority of catholics within the church are in favour of women’s ministry and wish to remain loyal to the Anglican tradition within the Anglican Communion.
The Society of Catholic Priests, which has over 500 members in this country and is about to establish chapters in the American Episcopal Church and in Australia, and Affirming Catholicism which draws together clergy and laity in this country and throughout the Anglican Communion, are committed to the catholic nature and teaching of the Church of England. We are actively working to see women ordained to the episcopate and hold that this is entirely consistent with the teaching of the church and the historic nature of our orders. We are also convinced that the issues of human sexuality should not be ones that divide the church.
To suggest that the departure from the Church of England of those who hold more conservative views will remove the catholic wing and tradition from the church is entirely wrong. Churches and parishes which have a catholic tradition and are served by priests, both male and female, are growing and flourishing and look forward to the future with enthusiasm.
We welcome the offer made by the Pope to those of our brothers and sisters who no longer feel that the Anglican Communion is their spiritual home. We hope that this will not impede swift progress in the Church of England towards the ordination of the first women bishops in this land."
But, the realities of fallen human nature notwithstanding, it's crucially important to make an attempt to discern the 'signs of the times' correctly rather than just work out which way the Anglican ecclesiastical wind is blowing. I concede there may be an honest difference of opinion over that; only please don't try to justify it with the addition of clearly invented or at best highly ambiguous 'historical evidence', and obvious culturally determined innovation dressed up as legitimate development. It's precisely here that we submit our individual and partial views to that of the consensus of the ages, and the settled mind of the Catholic Church. And that
is the real problem with much of the 'Affirming Catholic' position: the sheer cirularity of its analysis. It redefines 'catholicism' purely in terms of an insular, blinkered, contemporary 'North-Atlantic' Anglicanism in thrall to the secular zeitgeist, and not by the application of any external theological, historical or ecclesiological criteria It is a radicalised version of that strange and self-serving theological chimera from the early twentieth century of "Northern Catholicism', only writ large, and, as such, is a clear departure from any previous Anglican attempts at self-understanding. It is a runaway, a-historical and secularised vehicle without any brakes. It ends, inevitably and sadly, simply as liberalism with a dressing-up box.
"Not all Catholics are traditionalists."
In modern Anglicanism, I'm afraid not all 'Catholics' are Catholic.
Here's a traditional folk song - 'Anglican patrimony' of a different kind.
"For it is not an open enemy, that hath done me this dishonour:
for then I could have borne it.
Neither was it mine adversary, that did magnify himself against me:
for then peradventure I would have hid myself from him.
But it was even thou, my companion:
my guide, and mine own familiar friend.
We took sweet counsel together:
and walked in the house of God as friends."