Posts

Tsunami!

Old news, I know, but I have been reading "The Light That Failed: Reflections on Anglo-Catholicism in the Episcopal Church." The author lists "seven major causes of the tragedy." Once they have been enumerated, it becomes clear that the problem was simple: Kulturkampf. A house without foundations is swiftly wiped away in such a tsunami. It all was so relatively quick and neat, historically viewed: 1947 to 1984. Postwar exhaustion, passivity, and superficiality; Vatican II; The Sixties (1965-1975); The 1979 Book of Common Prayer; No episcopal leadership (= no schism); No intellectual leadership (= no scholarship and no teaching); No moral leadership (= nothing but laxity and a lack of personal holiness). All in all, that's a pretty tall order. Again: Zeitgeist (1-3), mediocrity (4), and total lack of the requisite formation (5-7). In a word, Bildung. Mein Kampf

"Don't start from the good old things but the bad new ones."

Nostalgia, remorse, reparation. These things might as well be my middle name. Like Benjamin's angel ... From Fr. Hunwicke: It seemed difficult to imagine, back in 1968, how anything could happen that would make one wish to fulfill one's vocation as a Priest of the Catholic and Latin Church anywhere other than in the Provinces of Canterbury and York. So much holiness was there and so much real and profound learning; so much were they part of the fabric of every English town and village; so autochthonous. I wonder how many generations it took for those once flourishing churches around Hippo in North Africa to pass into sand and become history and memories. Sic transit ... As Blessed John Henry Newman put it, Canterbury has gone its way, and York is gone, and Durham is gone, and Winchester is gone. It was sore to part with them. We clung to the vision of past greatness, and would not believe it could come to naught; but ... And even Oxford, in a sense, is gone; the Oxford wh…

Ecclesiology and Apostasy

I wish I held the answers in my hand. I don't. Ecclesiology has always been a difficulty for Anglicans because I suppose it was thought that one just substituted the monarch for the Pope. But it hasn't worked that way (quite) since the Seventeenth Century. Interestingly, the subject has become grist for two very different mills: the liberals (discussed here) and the quasi-conservatives (found here). Just as in philosophy, when you try and address one question, you quickly discover yourself entangled in twenty-seven tangential ones. Also, just as in modern bureaucracies, some people think that the right structures and the right policies will (auto-magically) produce the correct result. I suspect it is the other way around and I find (perhaps incorrectly) echoes of this in the following, from Gavin Ashenden. That is to say, whatever the structural deficits, the reasoning must proceed backwards, from the correct conclusion, to the structures that will support and nourish …

Why 1662 is sufficient

The changes to 1662 that should render it acceptable to catholics: The restoration of the offertory: Then shall the Priest return to the Lord's Table, and begin the Offertory ...The acts of oblation: ... the Deacons ... shall receive the Alms for the Poor, and other devotions of the people, in a decent basin to be provided by the Parish for that purpose; and reverently bring it to the Priest, who shall humbly present and place it upon the holy Table. And when there is a Communion, the Priest shall then place upon the Table so much Bread and Wine, as he shall think sufficient.The prayer for acceptance: We humbly beseech thee most mercifully to accept our alms and oblations, and to receive these our prayers, which we offer unto thy Divine Majesty ... The commemoration of the dead: And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy …

"Good, or ancient, or Catholic"

From Mr. J. Wickham Legg: Now the earlier ecclesiologists thought they might gain some knowledge of the customs of the middle ages by a study of modern Roman practices, receiving the assertion that Rome never alters with a too confiding generosity; and accordingly they proceeded to change some of the inherited medieval customs in accordance with the dictates of modern Rome. But from modern Rome we can learn next to nothing of the practices of the middle ages. A very little study soon convinces us of the deep division there is between the practice of modern Rome and of medieval England, and that modern Rome will only lead us astray if we trust to its liturgical decisions. Because a practice is Roman, it is not therefore of necessity good, or ancient, or Catholic. In the first place, the liturgy of modern Rome is the liturgy of the Franciscan Friars, while that of the national medieval Churches is the old Liturgy which was used in the parish churches of Rome before the days of Nicholas…

Elucidation

It turns out to be necessary to differentiate this blog -- and its title -- from any association from lady -- or lady-man -- priestesses and the so-called messy church. The title is inspired by the notion championed by the under-appreciated British philosopher Gillian Rose. It is a complex concept, only incompletely spelled out in what follows: If we want to occupy the 'broken middle', we can't do this by brushing over differences and disagreements, by pretending that they're not there or that they don't matter. Philosophy, for Rose, is all about recognising and identifying conflicts which are ignored or overlooked. But what we then need to do is to refuse to identify the different positions as 'guilty' or 'innocent'. To live in the middle is to experience the impossibility of reconciling different positions, to refuse to take sides and so to look guilty to everyone, to satisfy no one, to be torn apart. This, says Rose, is where the sacred is. In…

A "ghostly presence"

From Mr. Hitchens: I love the Church of England. By that I do not mean its bishops, its arid modern prayers and poetry-free, unmemorable modern bibles, nor its stripped and carpeted modernised churches, its compulsory handshakes, perky modern hymns or happy-clappy conventicles where everyone is saved. If I'm saved it was such a narrow squeak that I think it wiser not to go on about it, as the man said. What I love is the wondrous Elizabethan settlement which refused to make windows into men's souls and allowed Catholics and Protestants to forget their differences in a rather beautiful ambiguity. That settlement is expressed in several ways. It lingers in buildings, in books, in music, a sort of ghostly presence just within reach at certain times of day and in a few unravaged, unwrecked parts of this country. It also continues to survive as a body of thought, song and literature, quite immune from the peculiar bureaucratic organisation which currently uses the Church's n…