Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Yes, doors must be kept open

It was very heartening in a rapidly changing situation to see that the Council-General of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament has agreed to keep membership of the CBS open to members of both the Church of England (etc.) and the Personal Ordinariate.
It is vital as events move on that there be such organisations and places where we can meet and pray together. Walsingham should be another example.
There are two main reasons for this: one is a deep and continuing friendship even across the new ecclesial divide and our shared hopes and prayers for a "catholic" future.
The second is more complicated and more controversial: it concerns the nature of the changes now taking place in  Anglicanism here and worldwide.
It's very clear, if recent history can teach us anything, that there will be no permanent or lasting "settlement" for traditionalists in the Anglican provinces in these islands. If you doubt that, look at the situation in the Province of Wales - there are those who would deny it, but where is their evidence?  That much was made clear by the arbitrary withdrawal in Wales of additional episcopal provision and the continuing refusal to reconsider that decision.

There may be the occasional, even well-intentioned, crumb dropped from the table  in terms of preferment, but these things (such as some recent appointments in the Church of England - I don't mean the new PEVs) are only window-dressing rather than providing firm evidence of a shift back in favour of some kind of orthodoxy, much as we would rejoice to see that. They will only satisfy the easily impressed, those desperate for acceptance, and those of a resolutely non-catholic ecclesiology. Sacramentally and ecclesially, for 'catholics' the game is up.
The revisionist agenda simply does not and cannot permit of anything other than a total ecclesiological victory for its cause; those who are seen to be standing in the way of that can expect to face a continuation, and eventually an escalation, of the war of attrition we have experienced over the last couple of decades. We are entering into just another stage in the long defeat of the hopes of the Oxford Movement. This will be the case regardless of the outcome of the present synodical process in England. Pope Benedict's prophetic gathering up of the fragments so that none may be lost will have its brutal corollary in the new Anglican establishment's mopping up of what remains of the ideological enemy.

That being the case, it's even more important to keep the boundaries between "Anglican" Anglo-Catholics and the Ordinariate as porous as possible, to keep talking to one another, to keep praying for one another and to keep our doors permanently open and our friendships - and our bridges - well maintained. Three cheers for the C.B.S.!

1 comment:

  1. As a CBS Associate belonging to the Church of Sweden I find this new situation strange. In Sweden we have one ward, and our ward superior is (the Superior General) Fr Chris Pearson.

    This IS problematic: he is Roman Catholic, which means that we are NOT in communion with our own ward superior, that is: we can't recieve the sacament from him!

    And what for the future? Celebrating the National Festival with two masses, one for romans and one for non-romans?

    This is a unsound situation.


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