Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Faithful Resolutions?

Bishop Damien reminds us that we are called to be Faithful, something that we in the Anglican Catholic Church have resolved to do from the outset. He states something that every Anglican Catholic finds out very quickly: the Anglican Communion (the Lambeth Communion or Canterbury Communion or whatever you prefer) is out to dismiss the Faith that we Anglican Catholics seek to continue. This is a bit bonkers since the Faith that we are trying to continue is precisely the Faith to which the Anglican Communion itself held very dear.

I blogged below on the nature of Schism and how the Anglican Continuum has a proven record of preferring heresy to schism. If that's the way they choose to operate, then that is very much their affair. It is not the way that the Continuing Anglican Church works, though. Whilst that may demonstrate the intensity with which we desire the Truth, people may think that it is the cause of our fragmentation.

Yet, the ACC does have good relations with other Churches who do not feel the least bit threatened by our presence. I, personally have good friends in America who are in the ACA and the APA, the TAC, UECNA and the REC (I apologise for the acronyms - no wonder the Continuum is called Alphabet Soup) and who certainly do not feel threatened by our existence. I enjoy a happy relationship with the Old Roman Catholic Church - we may not be the same in out origins but, God willing, we will be the same in our endings, and that goes for all faithful Christians. God has no beginning, nor does He have an ending, but we have both. Following the call to be Faithful means doing our best to walk in the path that a timeless God has woven into the fabric of our existence. Our call to be Faithful is a call to eke out and present to this turbulent world the character of Eternity.

Bishop Damien recalls Resolution IV.11 from the 1998 Lambeth Conference:

Resolution IV.11 'Continuing' Churches  
 This Conference:  
a.  believes that important questions are posed by the emergence of groups who call themselves 'continuing Anglican Churches' which have separated from the Anglican Communion in recent years; and  
b. asks the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Primates' Meeting to consider how best to initiate and maintain dialogue with such groups with a view to the reconciliation of all who own the Anglican tradition.
As the Bishop laments, the Anglican Communion seems to have forgotten that in its dismissal and rather sneering attitude towards us as if we aren't really real. there are even those who would seek to destroy Anglo-Catholicism from the root - Prof. Diarmaid Macculloch for one who seeks to aim his final kicks at the "twitching corpse" of High Anglicanism. 

In may ways I can't blame them too much. I know that I have been very critical of what the Anglican Communion does - if they wish to be critical of us, then they have every right. I suppose I try to make sense of what they are doing and yet run up against the same inconsistencies. Yet, I do feel that I have some right to be critical for the Church of England is The Established Church and part of my taxes go to support that church. I do have a right therefore to worry about what this body is putting forward to be the Christian Faith. Admittedly, I do criticise the Roman Church, but mainly in reaction to those former Anglicans who have been vociferous in their hatred for the church they have left and seek to justify their departure by trying to bring down the whole aedifice.

I repeat that I do not wish either the Anglican Communion or the Roman Church any ill at all. Indeed, I wish that we could be better related and better disposed towards each other. I wish that we could see ways f working together against the common Foe and for the common Lord. As I said below, if we have the same intention then we cannot fail to be united. However, the resolutions above need to be dealt with.

So what would a rapprochement between the Anglican Communion and the Continuing Anglicans achieve?

Admittedly, unless there is a change, the impediments to communion will remain. Dialogue is one thing, but to what end? The ACC has its statement of unity and the other Continuing Anglicans will have theirs. We cannot walk with the Anglican Communion while the sacraments are in such disrepair and the influence of the Secular world so great in matters sacred. The ends of good dialogue are for us to understand each other and to envisage how we can work together for a common good. This look hard, and there will be hard admissions to make, but we must both be willing to do this.

If it's any consolation to the Anglican Communion, they will find the Anglican Catholic Diocese of the United Kingdom to possess a sense of humour. Perhaps then, we can learn to laugh together. We do recognise that that we have the perception of being an "angry church". Yes, there are still wounds caused by the way some members of the ACC were forced to leave the CofE, but we must all seek healing and wholeness.

 Hopefully, the CofE will see that, actually, we are a passionate church which does not set itself up as The One True Church, but rather sees itself as part of a bigger picture.Firmly we believe and truly, and they must know that they will not shake that desire for the original faith from us. We may come across as Kripkean, but they must realise that a Faith that has been tested and tried in the previous twenty centuries is not something that can simply be interpreted as differently as modernity demands. We hear the arguments, we weight them and we do consider them, but they are flawed because they seek to change what is an Eternal truth.

That doesn't mean, however, that we cannot at least consider the mission of Christianity together. Humanity has many questions for its Maker and we, the Church, are that interface, that royal priesthood that presents the world to God and God to the world. We Anglican Catholics have our own way of thinking. It may not be to everyone else's cup of tea, but it is valid, based on a sure method and desirous for truth.

The fact of the matter is that we exist and are alive, much to Prof. Maccullough's disgust, I'm sure. We also seek Christ, and that first and foremost too. I think we are ready, willing an capable of good, robust and good-humoured dialogue. Is the CofE?

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