Well, yes and no - a typical Anglican answer! I hope you will understand my equivocation. I have had to re-evaluate myself this year and what I really believe, and perhaps now is the time to start nailing my colours to the mast. While I was in the CofE, I was as much a slave to the inherent confusion as anything else. I would leave even my own services with a headache, let alone from Mass and this was in no small part due to my trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. I have now had time to think more clearly. I have sailed that sea and, though with my sails tattered and my mast broken, find myself on a more comfortable shore.
The main principles of Anglican Papalism are:
- Anglicanism has made authentic and honourable contributions to the development of Catholic Christian practice (e.g., Week of Prayer for Christian Unity).
- Petrine Succession and Primacy are authentic and honourable developments of Catholic Christian theology.
- There is a legitimate place within Catholic Christianity for Christians seeking full Communion with the Apostolic See of Rome yet retaining Anglican practices deemed salutary by the Church's Magisterium.
I am not an Anglican Papalist if this means that I wish to take advantage of the Ordinariate. I cannot agree that the system that is in place preserves Anglicanism if it means that Anglican priests have to go through the unnecessary sacrilege of re-ordination. This is a blatant denial of the Catholic validity that Anglicanism has and which Pusey and the other members of the Oxford Movement saw when they rediscovered the orthodoxy embedded in Traditional Anglicanism. That Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman departed for Rome was not a problem for him because he doubted the validity of his own orders and ceased from practicing when he realised this. That he was also under much emotional pressure at the time is surely understandable. Likewise, I cannot condemn anyone entering the Ordinariate and I will explain why this is a good thing.
I am not Anglican Papalist if I have to hold to the Pope being anything more than a Patriarch and a Bishop with privileged see. Over the past few years, I have drifted further and further from the doctrines of Papal Infallibility and Supremacy as they stand defined in the First Vatican Council, on the grounds that (a) it is not a truly Oecumenical Council and (b) the doctrines doesn't make sense without it being a truly Oecumenical Council. The Infallibility comes from the Church and were the Church to hold a truly Oecumenical Council and for the bishops all to agree on a matter of faith and doctrine, then the Infallible position would then be ratified by the Pope. He would bang the gavel on the matter, as it were.
I do not hold to the idea that the Holy Father is a monarch of Christians, especially since, in the eyes of the Old Testament, the Covenant points to the Monarchy of God. I will willing hold to the Holy Father's primacy but not his universal jurisdiction, because it is not true. Either the Orthodox Churches who do not subscribe to Papal universal jurisdiction are not Catholic Christians (which Rome believes) or the Pope has universal jurisdiction (which the Orthodox Churches do not believe).
However, I am still an Anglican Papalist if I believe St Paul when he tells us that, in the Body of Christ, one part cannot reject another part and that I am still committed to the unity of the Undivided Church. I still hold to the Holy Father as my Patriarch, even if he himself denies it and goes so far to suppress that title. There is good evidence in the Early Church of the Primacy of the Pope, and that Anglicans do share very much doctrine with the Roman Catholic Church. I long for the Unity with the Holy See but I fear that Vatican II has ruined her more than Vatican I. Vatican I cut the Holy See off further from Anglicans, Orthodox and even her own ilk in the Old Catholic Church. Vatican II cut her off from her own past in an attempt to blow away the cobwebs. Moral: never open your windows to air your room when there's a Gale Force 9 Hurricane raging outside.
For unity to occur, there needs to be movement on both sides. The ACC did her bit in the 1970s when she came away from the heresies of ECUSA and again in the 1990s in the U.K. If Rome is serious about Church Unity, then she needs to look at herself to ensure that she is fit for unity rather than just assume that she is.
I am still an Anglican Papalist if that means I still defend the Roman Catholic Church where possible since, as I said above, Anglican Catholicism shares a very great deal of true doctrine with her. This isn't always possible when the hierarchy of the Holy See says some very silly things, usually from ignorance, but I certainly have her interests at heart. I have a great love and affection for her and the Holy Father and I certainly support the Ordinariate in that if Anglicans can subscribe to the extra conditions that Roman Catholicism imposes then they should take them up. It means that homeless Anglicans do find a sound spiritual home, though not without cost. It will also help the Roman Church see the value of Anglicanism and perhaps help her to play a better role in the unity of the Undivided Church. There are some very good and devout former Anglicans entering the Ordinariate, this can only be a good thing for all parties and I pray for its success and growth.
I am still an Anglican Papalist if that means that I recognise the contribution to Anglicanism that the five-hundred year walk with the Roman Catholic Church has forged with all its riches and colour as well as the inherent truth that Anglican and Roman Catholicism share. Although I recognise the need for its occurrence, I still find the Reformation one of the saddest and most abject periods in Church History and wish that it had never happened in the way that it did. I still hold to the pious opinions of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Our Lady and to the doctrine of Purgatory, though not as a place of punishment, but rather a painful "place" of personal reconstruction but filled with the light and love of God.
Looking back at some of my earlier posts I notice that I have changed much, but then who doesn't? I am not ashamed of myself for the times that I have been a bit more ultramontane than I am now. I believe it is the sign of spiritual growth in me and I praise God for it. However, I'm not convinced that I've changed all that much, just a dotting of the Is and crossing of the Ts with the loss of hair and increase of girth. There's still much more growing that I have to do, but I am happy to be in a place which allows that growth to occur in a nurturing and supportive environment.