Friday, 16 November 2012

A deadly internal contradiction

There are many reasons to be pessimistic about the long-term survival of 'Catholic' or indeed 'conservative' Anglicanism of any kind, at least outside the sanctuary created in full communion with the Holy See by Pope Benedict. 
Anglicanism itself has long given the tragic impression of being a failing ecclesial body crushed under the weight of its own internal contradictions and divisions, and yet unwilling to take the steps necessary to address them. 
However, this list, somewhat historically simplistic to say the least, does not do anything like justice to the real cause of our present, and probably now irreversible, decline.
There is only one reason - the lack of any shared sources of authority to which the various traditions within Anglicanism can convincingly refer; this has become even more pronounced than was historically the case  now our structures and church government have been opened up to the mercy of  'democratic' secularism, leading to uninformed and theologically 'unaware' - to put it kindly -  majority voting on doctrinal issues by the mere provincial synods of a small and separated part of the Church. It has led to a situation where some of our Fathers in God (the most egregious example is here) seem far more concerned with the approval and good opinion of the world than with any concern to keep faith with what their predecessors,  almost to a man,  would have regarded as the authentic Christian tradition.  The 'democracy of the dead,' in Chesterton's memorable phrase, has been replaced with the autocracy of the living. This 'development' (which some like to term 'prophetic' but which others of us would deem as totally illegitimate if only because of its built-in resistance to any form of interrogation by Scripture or tradition)  has rapidly, in the space of two generations or less, both effectively destroyed those authentic claims to apostolicity we once had and, in consequence, reduced the prospect of any meaningful ecumenism (that is, our reunion with the ancient apostolic sees of the Church) to the level of mere wishful thinking - if that.

If we had any doubts as to the vindictive and unchristian attitude of the leaders of the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.  towards those who doubt the wisdom of their theological direction, this should resolve them all.  Is this an institution which deserves to survive? Those who remain silent on this issue are as guilty as the aggressors.
A heartfelt plea for charity and restraint here from one of those 'accused.'

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this excellent post, Father. So many are chasing their tails trying to be 'relevant' ... which essentially involves trying to mirror the values of the secular world. Ironically, they can not see that this path is the one that truly leads to irrelevance (the secular world does not need the Church to act as a cheerleader for what they are doing) ... and can only be done by disenfranchising that part of the Communion of Saints that consists of previous generations.

    As for what is going on in TEC, it should give serious pause to those who claim that radical changes can be made while still leaving room to respect the position of those who refuse to break with Tradition ... but, of course, it will not.


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