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Showing posts from 2017

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…

"Back to the Future"

A re-post from Father Jonathan: The phrase “Prayer Book Catholic” has come to characterize those Anglo-Catholics who not only use the Book of Common Prayer but believe it to be the liturgy par excellence for Catholic worship and teaching the Catholic faith. This is opposed to those Anglo-Catholics who only ever use the prayer book out of necessity but see it as at best incomplete and feel the need to gussy it up with affectations from the liturgies of Rome, the East, or wherever. Prayer Book Catholics believe that Anglicanism is Catholic by its very nature. In that respect, they are the inheritors of the old High Churchman tradition which stressed fidelity to the prayer book as a matter of faith, not simply discipline. Prayer Book Catholics strenuously defend the catholicity of the prayer book liturgies, but what about the 39 Articles of Religion that are appended to the back of the book? Is it possible for Catholics to defend the Articles or are they simply a relic of the Church of…

"The good old Prayer Book alone"

From The Ecclesiastical Review, Volume 65, July-December, 1921: THE importance and the value of a good prayer book can scarcely be overestimated. The average Catholic has no opportunity and no inclination for much mental prayer. Nor is he able to concentrate his mind for any considerable length of time on any given subject of meditation. He must find his beliefs and his aspirations expressed in the printed word, in terms that appeal to his intellect and to his heart. Besides, at divine service, the language of the Church is incomprehensible to him. Hence he cannot take part in the ceremonies as fully as was the case in former centuries. A good prayer book is required as an interpreter and a guide. And it affords the easiest means of familiarizing the faithful with the essentials of the devotional life: Holy Mass, Holy Communion, Confession, the other Sacraments, and the various practices in general use in the Church ... The Third Council of Baltimore saw the need and tried to supply…

Standards

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Much like The Secker Society, this blog "is dedicated to the preservation and continued use of the historic standards of the Church of England", i.e.: The Articles of Religion of 1571, the Authorized Version of 1611, the Prayer Book of 1662, the Psalter of 1539, the Ordinal of 1661, and the Books of Homilies of 1547 and 1571. These standards were never the norm in America: the very first American prayer book is already vitiated by, inter alia, the omission of the Athanasian Creed. In our day, there are YouTube videos for everything. Here is the Mass, done reverently and solemnly, omitting nothing, and coming in, with full communion by the congregation, at under thirty minutes.

The Benedict Option

From Martin Thornton: The greatest Benedictine achievement (from this point of view) is the final consolidation of the threefold Rule of prayer which is absolutely fundamental to all Catholic spirituality: the common Office (opus Dei) supporting private prayer (orationes peculiares) both of which are allied to, and consummated by, the Mass. To call this the greatest Benedictine achievement is not to exaggerate … Here is the basic Rule of the Church which, varying in detail, is common to East and West, monastic and secular, to all the individual schools without exception, and which forms the over-all structure of the Book of Common Prayer. Amongst all the tests of Catholicity or orthodoxy, it is curious that this infallible and living test, is so seldom applied. We write and argue endlessly about the apostolic tradition, about episcopacy, sacramentalism, creeds, doctrine, the Bible—all very important things—yet we fail to see that no group of Christians is true to orthodoxy if it fail…

Medicina mentis

From Mr. Hitchens: Yet perhaps by reoccupying and recapturing the citadels of their own Church, rather than by defecting to another one, English-speaking Christian conservatives might discover that they have a surprisingly powerful weapon in their hands, one that has not ceased to exist just because it has fallen out of use.They might consider that Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer, despite all the assaults of fashion and cultural revolution, remains authorised by law for use in the Church of England, and remains its standard of belief and worship — though, astonishingly, many theological colleges do not even teach its use to their students. And they might note that its beautiful, neglected services — not only Evensong but many others including the Solemnisation of Matrimony — are the most eloquent and thoughtful repudiation of the spirit of 1968 in the English language. If the 68ers actually studied it, they would hate it far more than they hate the Pope, which seems to me to b…