Thursday, September 14, 2006

By their fruits shall ye know them.

In my online meanderings, I came across this article by Catherine Thiemann which seeks to analyse the activities of the AAC and the network. A number of my friends have seen it as a direct insult by someone who doesn't really want to listen to what the AAC and the Network have been saying.

If we're honest then there have been harsh words on both sides of the impending schism. We Anglo-Catholics are reknowned for being spiky in more ways than one, and I myself must confess to having been very sharp with posters on the Anglo-Catholic Central message board.

I don't think Liberals understand the passion that we Anglo-Catholics have for the true worship of God. Liberal worship seems tailored to the individual rather than to God, and that in itself is disunifying, schismatic at the heart, because it renders the individual will as being authoritative over Tradition. We cannot choose to preach that homosexual practice is a not a sin, because the Divine Revelation says that it is a sin. The charge that Dr Thiemann lays at the door of the Network is that of being "incorrect and divisive." If the AAC and the Network have been so, then it is not in the region of Christian Orthodoxy, which is where Dr Thiemann's understanding of the Church fails.

As an Anglo-Papalist, I believe that that the Orthodoxy of the Anglican Church exists from its time in union with the Holy See. Anglo-Catholics proper disagree with this notion and believe that Anglicanism has possessed an Orthodoxy and Catholicity from the outset. Whether Anglo-Papalist or -Catholic, there does exist an Anglican Orthodoxy and both groups agree that exists in some form, namely the Orthodoxy of Scripture and Tradition and the use of Reason in subordination to these two. The Articles say that the Bible contains all that is necessary as pertaining to Salvation, so why doe Liberals still persist in trying to reinterpret the Bible to suit their well-intentioned, but dangerously erroneous self-inspired theses.

Dr Thiemann quotes the AAC chairman, the Rev'd Canon David Anderson as saying that Reason cannot be trusted. Indeed it cannot if it departs from Scriptural and Traditional bases. I think the Liberal idea of Reason being used here is "any argument, or thesis, that can be used to get a text that says 'black' to reveal that it is in fact saying 'white'."

This Liberal understanding of Church treads a fine line between being Christian and being "spiritual but not religious" (see below). Indeed, I learn that in the Diocese of Ely, a priest who has converted to Hinduism has been given "permission to officiate", the same permission that I possess to stand up in Church and preach a sermon. If Dr Thiemann's maxim "by their fruits shall ye know them" is applied, then we see the Liberals encouraging syncretist and counter-Christian ideals.

That's not to say that the Network is faultless in its dealings. If the accusations against Howard Ahmanson are true (and I really don't know if they are), then he must realise that going back to Levitical Law is out of the question. I have seen FiF priests treat a woman "priest" very shabbily.

What to do?

Well Anglo-Catholics and -Papalists must realise that in a world of words, the voice of Orthodoxy is going to be ignored, especially by those who claim to have the moral high ground because they use Reason. Perhaps we must concentrate on putting our house in order, unifying the Catholic Faith and by living that Faith as an example to the world. Perhaps when we're stable, we can begin a dialogue with the Liberals, but I think we need our space. Do we split from the Liberals? We may have to. Not out of hatred, but because we must walk apart like David and Jonathan on opposing sides of the divide. If the Liberals want a reason, the we can say "we have to be true to ourselves" and that will satisfy them because of their appeals to individualism.

Liberals must realise that the individualism of the secular world is horribly infectious. Our Lord said "deny thyself, pick up thy cross and follow me." I do feel for homosexuals because of the cross that they have to bear if they do deny their "right" to practice. I have a very dear friend who has indeed taken up that cross and has borne the pain of the cross to the admiration of his friends and his life does indeed point to Christ. To deny one's one will and bear the will of God as a cross is the true way forward, not to indulge one's will and then "reason" that it is in fact the will of God. If we suffer because of the will of God, then He has promised us something terribly special in the life to come.

Is this a rant? I hope not. I desire Unity, but not at any price. Was Judas included in the Lord's prayer ut unum sint?

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