Friday, 27 April 2012

But what are the limits?

The blog Valle Adurni has published the following quotation from an apologist for the LCWR (an umbrella organisation for some American female religious orders) currently under investigation by the Vatican):
"The notion that postmodern Catholics assent to “the doctrine of the faith that has been revealed by God in Jesus Christ, presented in written form in the divinely inspired Scriptures, and handed on in the Apostolic Tradition under the guidance of the Church’s Magisterium,” (or, simply, the fathers know best) is simply ludicrous." 
There will be those who will use this investigation as a reason for attacking the Vatican for its authoritarianism and lack of respect for intellectual and theological freedom. The Vatican itself (and any Catholics who doubt its wisdom in this respect) should be heartened and encouraged in its present course of action by the fact that it is precisely this absence of restraint, this contempt for commonly accepted boundaries within which the work of theology is done and practised, which has created the modern face of Anglicanism.  
You really do not want to go there.

As many Anglicans - even after several generations of this -  clearly do not:

"...If we were facing a merely institutional problem, then we would have expected that the heavy investment made in Anglican Covenant would have brought a resolution. But now with the rejection of the Covenant, even in the Church of England itself, it is obvious that institutional remedies for the crisis have failed and that the problems we face are far too deep seated to be dealt with by merely managerial and organisational strategies. As Primates of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, we recognised in our communiqué of November 2010 that the Anglican Covenant was I quote: “Fatally flawed!” It had become clear that it was little more than a form of words to disguise conflict rather than resolve it. The heart of the crisis we face is not institutional, but spiritual.                                             Micah can ask ‘what does the Lord require?’ In the confidence of that, what the Lord requires has already been revealed. But the Lambeth Conference of 1998 showed that a determined minority were willing to bend the word of God to fit the fashionable ideas of their cultural context and that they were not willing to stand in solidarity with the clear mind of the communion’s bishops when opinion was tested.                                                                                                                                                                              The subsequent history of our communion unfolds from this point. Some sections of the Anglican Communion have been echoing the words of the serpent; ‘has God really said…?’ And their strategy has been to continue this dialogue endlessly in order to wear down resistance while all the time pursuing their self determined mandate of radical inclusion. In this they have been greatly helped by those Anglican theologians who claim that our identity is found in what they call ‘the grammar of obedience.’ They want us to step back from the plain sense of scripture and excavate ‘deeper truths’ of God’s revelation concealed below the words themselves. It is little surprise then that we find scripture can be bent into all sorts of convenient shapes and that so called ‘gospel’ truths can contradict the plain meaning of scriptures..."

[Full text here]

And on a related theme, this lecture exploding modern myths about othodox Christianity from the eminent theologian and patristic scholar Fr John Behr of St Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary, New York (thanks to Bishop David Chislett's blog) 
"Unless you've got a canon, a criterion which is acting as your first principle, your hypothesis, you can't think..."
And an explanation of humanity as the divine 'project' which is only 'finished' by the passion and resurrection of Christ.
Breathe the clear air!

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