Sunday, January 07, 2018

Currants and Raisins: a response to Fr Chadwick

I am always very grateful for the level of support I receive from Fr Anthony Chadwick who shows much pastoral concern for one in a similar boat (no, not that kind, Father) as himself. One who does not know me as well might ask why I kick up such a fuss about things that don't really have much consequence. Why should I care about what the American ACC and Continuing Anglicans feel about the way I conduct myself?

Perhaps it doesn't matter. It's not as if I exercise authority in the Church other than at a parochial level.

But it does matter, and the events of October's Joint Synod show why. If our concordat means anything, it means that I, in my tiny diocese with my insubstantial mission, am very much part of a greater organic whole and that my actions and attitudes are affected  by those of my confraternity across the world and they also must be affected by mine.

I, therefore have a case to answer to justify myself to those whose hard work not only brought the concordat into reality but also were the architects of Continuing Anglicanism itself. It matters because I, despite my geographical, historical and cultural distance, am linked organically and spiritually with the Congress of St Louis.
It is this commitment that has been called into question by those who define what it means to be Anglicanism by Prayer Book alone (solus Liber Precum Publicarum?) and this included some loud and honourable clergymen of many years' standing and many years' struggling against institutional heresy.

I thus have a duty to them and to myself to answer that question in order to stand in the solidarity of communion with them despite our differences in the light of the Affirmation and the unity of the Concordat.
That is why I bother and stir up what others might see as mere storms in a teacup. It is for this reason that I have concentrated on my raison d'etre in order to find community with those who hold the same faith as me yet express it differently.

Yet, I  am as Fr Anthony suggests, an English Catholic. I ought to say a Canterbury Catholic given the tendency of Catholics to refer themselves to the archetypal See. In many ways I see Bishop Damien as the legitimate Bishop of Canterbury even though his parish has moved to Painters Forstal from Canterbury City Centre. He is the orthodox bishop of the Anglican tradition and it is from him that I, Fr Chadwick, and all my confraternity derive our orders and heritage.

However, as I say, now is the time for developing the Benedict Option here in the UK, promoting stability, obedience and conversatio mores which can only flourish in a state of doctrinal orthodoxy. This is a good use of my oblation, and I pray that God may help me to do so in fidelity to him.
There is much to think about. One problem that seems to dog Christianity is the relationship between being and doing. How does what we do play a part in our salvation? Can it be that while Christ saves us, we determine the 'us' that is to be saved by Him through what we will to do? I am especially interested in the role of consciousness in developing the Christian experience of God as David Bentley Hart (brother of an ACC priest) would write. I have often wondered whether our consciousness is the way our sense of identity extends across the multiverse. It would mean that our subjunctive self is as existent as our indicative self. This is speculation, though - pure courant.

My hope, however, is that whatever the nature of existence is, I in my splendid isolation still have some deep and real connection with all my brethren within the Catholic Church through my walk towards the Divine light. My hope is that my critics find in me someone who, though challenging their definitions, will also stand alongside them in the Faith against the current of Hell-bound indifference to God and true humanity.

My previous title - Currents and Raisons - is my customary love of punning. My current puns are shocking, which makes me as nutty as a fruitcake. Yet I hope in my playing with words - as Wittgenstein might enjoy - I hope I make myself clear at least in intention if not in expression.

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