But evidently what is not envisaged is a return to the fundamental maleness of apostolic order if the new network's programme of events and speakers [here] is anything to go by.
Why, one wonders, is another organisation of this nature needed in the Church of England? Has Affirming Catholicism become too 'Affirming' and insufficiently 'Catholic?' We all have our opinions on that one, but there does seem to be an element of desperation creeping into its analysis of the current state of the Church when Anglican Catholic Future's 'mission statement' includes these words:
"..The Catholic identity of the Church of England has suffered a crisis stemming from a preoccupation with divisive issues. As a result the Catholic tradition in Anglicanism has become fragmented and nerveless. Many who hold this tradition dear feel that the time is right to rediscover our Catholic roots and values for the sake of the church’s witness in our land.Isn't all this somewhat late, having undermined, if not destroyed, both our claims to apostolicity (how do they imagine our Oxford Movement forebears would view that?) and any realistic hopes for unity? We can understand why the bed on which they are now lying is so uncomfortable, at least viewed from the perspective of the authentic Anglican Catholic tradition, but they - more than most- have helped to make it that way with precisely their "preoccupation with divisive issues" and their determination to use them to further the liberal (and secular) agenda within the Church at the expense both of its internal cohesion and of the larger ecumenical imperatives. Having done their worst in this regard, does anything of Catholicity, except the inessential and incidental trappings, now remain?
Following the imperatives that guided our Catholic forebears in the Church of England we will focus on theology, spirituality and the life of prayer, liturgy and worship, vocation and priesthood, ecumenism and social justice. We will seek to model a style of discipleship faithful to the riches of our tradition, which encourages us to be creative and credible, imaginative and generous...."
I'm sorry, but all these fundamentally theologically liberal and revisionist organisations now laying claim to the word 'Catholic' in contemporary Anglicanism remind us of nothing more than those countries which tended to employ the words 'Democratic Republic' as a means of self-description. One knew that democracy was the very last thing on their minds...