I've learned a lot this year about myself and about the state of the Church.
This is how I began:
Where do I start? I am a Catholic, not a Roman one, mind you, though I'd dearly
love to be in Communion with His Holiness for whom I have a profound respect.
No, I'm an Anglo-Catholic in the Church of England, though if the decision goes
through to "ordain" women as bishops then I'm dropping the Anglo bit. I remain
in the Church of England since I was born into it, and I don't really wish to
leave it.I'm a schoolteacher, but I confess that I don't like it very much for
various reasons both political and personal. I am exploring a vocation into
Benedictine Orders. So becoming an OSB may fulfil my love of academic study and
my Catholic affectations. The trouble is that Anglican Religious orders seem to
be on the wane. This would be a disaster if this actually happens.I have a lot
of friends in the Continuum, i.e. those Anglo-Catholics standing outside the
Anglican communion. My dearest wish is that somehow all those various Catholic
denominations should strive for a unity which will fight the growing menaces of
Liberalism, Relativism and Individualism that are infecting the Church as well
as society. Such a wish can only come through prayer, but we need the prayer
centres too. Pass me my hassock, please.
Well, I don't call myself an Anglo-Catholic these days except only as a rough guide to where my churchmanship lies since few people have heard of the Anglo-Papalists. Indeed, if I'm asked, I always say that I am Catholic. If anyone is astute to notice my Church of England Readers' badge then I have some explaining to do. I've certainly learned more about my Papistical leanings and the fact that Anglicanism does need the Church of Rome for guidance in its doctrine. This position has been ratified for me by the rati-zinger himself , His Holiness Pope Benedict, who demonstrates the importance for the Church to be faithful to its Tradition.
Following the C of E's declaration that women in the Episcopate is consonant with Anglican Understanding, I am at present waiting to see what the "brief from Hell" is going to propose before I make my decision whether I need to swim or not. I am constantly reviewing this situation which is far from ideal. I certainly do not consider myself to be an Anglican if Anglicanism is consonant with women "bishops".
As for my Benedictinism, well, that's on hold for a little while as I get used to my new job. I continue to develop my relations with Elmore Abbey in the hope that some more formal affiliation may result. I have found St Benedict very useful for balancing my life out.
So one year on sees some growth and some change but still the same problems and irritations. We are stuck with the -isms, including the Neo-Arianism that Dan Brown seems to be selling as well as Gnosticism. These can only be fought by working on our beliefs as set down in Scripture and communicated through the Church. History does not fight the Church, it is modern historians who are trying to make it look as if the Catholic Church is responsible for cover-ups and conspiracies. I cannot see what it would gain from doing so.
This year I do need to do more study, my Latin is horrible, my Greek worse and my Hebrew appalling. As I settle in my new job then hopefully I shall find the time to work on some things that I've laid aside for a while such as the proper ministry of Women and the "Natural Sacraments" that I proposed last year. No - I hadn't forgotten. Perhaps you wish I had!
Well here's to another twelve months.