Friday, December 31, 2010

Blogday 2010 (or thereabouts)

Well, five years ago on Wednesday I started blogging. It's been a fair old journey from where I was at the end of 2005 to where I am now. Over the course of the year, things have changed but not by much and certainly not for the better.

A good acquaintance remarked to me that these are sad times for honest men. Personally, I wonder when the honest man ever has an easy time. The trouble is, to be honest, one has to take time to seek Truth, sift through the wheat and tares and then examine what one has in order to comprehend as much as the paucity of our understanding will allow. In a time when things change so rapidly, honest men are hard pressed to get all the facts right at first glance.

Then, of course, when the honest man puts forward an unpalatable truth before the world, he is often told to go away and find a better truth, one more in keeping with the present age.

Like all Christians, I try to be as honest as possible and fail too many times. As I look back over the year that's gone, I realise that the stresses of modern living have meant that many of my posts and reflections are not as good as they could have been. I've tried to reflect more on Holy Scripture and Divine Liturgy as far as I possibly can. I've also tried to be less polemical than I have in previous years. This is largely because I haven't had time to think as deeply on the issues dividing the Church at this time, nor about the cause of unity central to the Anglican Papalist understanding of the Church.

Tomorrow, there will be five former Anglican Bishops entering into the first Ordinariates in the U.K. One is a former Rector of the Parish where I am Reader (though this appears to be in a very nominal sense) from whom I seem to have inherited this peculiarly hybrid ecclesiology and the desire to give it a rational footing. As far as I can make out (and I simply haven't had time to sit down and think about the fine details) the issue surrounding the whole Ordinariate scheme is the issue of space.

Down even to the level of single parishes, Anglo-Catholics are not being given any space to be true to themselves and the Tradition that we hold closely. I have been informed that if a Parish with the Resolutions in place falls into an interregnum, there are male priests that will refuse to give that parish a look. Actually this is a good thing in most ways, but the reason is not out of respect for the Catholic (and Conservative Evangelical) position here, but rather for fear of being associated with what is regarded as bigotry.

Bishop Broadhurst (he still is for another 6 hours!) has effectively hit the nail upon the head in that this idea of bigotry comes from a group of Christians who are building their Church from the World up, rather than God down. The fact of the matter is that "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." I can understand how to folk from a non-theist background would easily balk at the idea of following what they would perceive as the arbitrary commandments of a tyrannical deity. Yet if we believe and trust in God as a Divine Father, then our choice to believe and trust in Him restricts our freedom to choose the way we live our life, in just the same way as our choosing to remain within a happy family restricts our freedom in what we do. Freedom is probably more about free-won't rather than free-will.

The question before me is what to do with myself this year. I'm still in the Church of England - just. I know that I have been teetering for about three years now. The trouble is that being in love means that one dares even to be torn apart for the sake of the beloved. I admit that I still have feelings for my parish and for the CofE. I still have a monastery which has a claim on me - a claim that I seek to honour as best as I can, even if I fail miserably. I am still sufficiently Anglican not to regard a personal conversion to Roman Catholicism as desirable, and I see the Ordinariate as the only presently possible way for an Anglican Papalist to remain true to both identities. I should be much happier with the Ordinariate if it can be established peaceably and without the rancour of intellectuals trying to justify latent prejudices. There are plenty of trolls under the bridge across the Tiber.

I am also seriously pondering whether maintaining this blogling is a good idea. Perhaps five years is enough. If I'm not preaching or having time to think or reflect seriously on matters arising, then I should call it a day. However, we'll see what happens in the future.

So here's to 2011. May it be a very happy and joyful year for you all, and may the clouds of gloom and austerity display a lining of pure gold rather than the customary silver.


Warwickensis said...

stIn fact it turns out that only three of the Bishops (Burnham, Newton and Broadhurst) were received today with two of the Bishops' wives and three of the nuns from Walshingham.

Thanks to Fr. Chadwick for this information.

Patrick said...

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts in this blog. I'm a "cradle Catholic" as some have it, and I'm also like you impressed by and interested in the Ordinariate possibilities for a renewal of Catholic life in England. I first served on the altar in a medieval stone church, which I presume was during the period of 'church sharing' in the 1970s. Thus my view of Catholic ritual (knealing at an altar rail for communion, etc.) was formed in a way that is very different to current liturgical practice at my Parish church which I attend weekly with some misgivings but out of love of the Eucharist and respect for the tradition of The Church if not its current manifestations. But, and this is a big but for me, whilst I have aesthetic difficulties with current Catholic practices I feel that there is something inherently sinful in taking communion in a place that is not in communion with the Holy Father and so I avoid doing so at Anglican services such as weddings, etc. I want to point out one logical and thus obvious linguistic error in the thinking and thus exegisis of "Anglo-Catholics": no-one else in the world call us 'Roman Catholics' but you. For the rest of the human race one is simply either Catholic or not. John Seward points out that the nature of Christ that is embodied in His Church is the universal (Kathalou?) nature and essence of Christianity. There was only one Christ-not many; de dicto there is only one Church. This church is not regional or nationalistic or even man-made. There is nothing 'Roman' about this church other than the fact that Christ was born in an era when St Peter was compelled to go to the centre of human power to preach God's word there. And God is the God of all mankind, not your God or my God. As far as I can tell the HF is moved to reunite the body and soul of the church on earth in imitation of heaven, as this expresses the divinely symbolic link between sacramental time and The City of God (the nature of The Church is Catholic in that it seeks embodiment of truth in word and deed and to orient praxis - liturgy - with Cosmos). The great pity for England and for Anglicanism is that it has been shorn from the major intellectual developments of Humanist thinking from the 16th Century onwards, and thus the poetic and theological character of religious truth - as another flowering of humanity - has been obscured by pseudo-philosophical attempts to unite personal experience (empiricism) with logos understood as textual rather than metaphorical and temporal mediation and witness. This problem can be seen in the 'medieval' character of Anglo-Catholic architecture and the inability for actions to accord with praxis in a fully sacramental fashion - you commit the crime of copying rather than the virtue of mimesis; I mean, you say one thing and do another.... you believe something but don't act on it... you await the second coming of Christ it seems before accepting that his Church is here and that you are part of it, not apart from it. Now, please excuse the rudeness of this long-winded and too truncated message and accept the inevitable; you will come home to Christ, why not do it whilst you are alive, this is why we were created human not Angels.... to change our minds, and to freely accept what was made flesh. Good luck.

poetreader said...

I appreciate much of what you say and the mild spirit in which you say it, but I have to take very serious issue on your insistence on how I should refer to The Roman Catholic Church of which you are part. I would not be so rude as to instruct you not to refer to the Catholic church without the additional label. That represents your belief as to what your church, in fact, is. To ask me to do that, however, is to ask me to acquiesce in something I cannot believe. If I believed as you do, I should speak as you do. I'm not convinced of the claim that the Roman Church and its subsidiaries are the totality of the Catholic Church, nor that it is necessary that there be a single4 central organization for there to be one universal church. I am convinced that I, as a traditional Anglican, qam as much a part of that one church as you are. Perhaps I am in error -- if that be the case, I need to be convinced of the truth of those claims, BEFORE I can honestly change the way I speak of these churches. To expect me to do otherwise is to expect me to imply dishonestly that I accept what I can't.

Mannerly Anglicans do not require you always to say "Roman", even if your doing so would be more comfortable to us. Neither do we expect you to demand that we omit a term we find necessary to distinguish the parts (as we perceive it) of the Catholic Church.

I consistently use Roman Catholic, merely to indicate that I am speaking of those Catholics 3who are under the governance of Rome. I would probably be more accurate to refer to ":Papists", but that term has too much a flavor of disapproval and I won't use it.

Yes, we do differ, and our difference of opinion results in a difference of language. Can we all have enough good manners to allow that in each other as we try to make our own views plain to others? Please, work to convince me of what you believe I need to know. That kis compassionate, but please, don't ask me to be dishonest to the convictions I now hold.

ed pacht