On the newspaper of the Anglicans (called “Anglican Mainstream”) there is an article of Andrew Carey regarding the attitude of the Anglican clergy toward those who have decided to join the Ordinariate.
Basically, the Anglican hierarchy are refusing to give churches (even unused ones) to the converts for their own use; in addition, they are refusing the shared use of Anglican churches. Mr. Carey considers this attitude to be wrong as in his opinion a “broad church” like the Anglicans should “act differently”.
I disagree with Mr. Carey. I see in the refusal of the Anglicans to allow converts to use their own churches a last vestige of dignity and coherent thinking, the more remarkable because the Anglicans have been clearly losing both for many years now.
By all talking about being “broad” or “open”, it goes without saying that whoever is out is not in, and whoever has chosen to be out has consequently chosen not to be in anymore. The expectation (more or less strongly entertained) that there should be a moral obligation of the organisation that has been left to do something gratis et amore Dei for those who have left them is not very realistic and is, more importantly, utterly illogical.
For the Anglicans, the Ordinariates are a problem; certainly not a mortal one, but one that can’t be dismissed as irrelevant. To help those who go would simply mean to help to achieve one’s own demise. Glad as I would be to see the death of this heretical outfit born of whoring and/or bastard kings, I don’t think that this should be expected from them. If Anglicans have a remnant of dignity at all, they must still consider (wrong as this certainly is) their way the best one and conversion to Catholicism a mistake. If this is so (and it can’t be otherwise, logically) it certainly cannot be asked of them to help not only the achievement of their own demise, but the spreading of theological error.
In addition, it must be said that the Anglicans – wrong as they certainly are – are there to protect the interest of their own community. Their duty of allegiance is to those who are in, not to those who have chosen to go out. By all talk of ecumenism, this is a brutal truth that can’t be ignored without making oneself open to the accusation of working against one’s own shop.
As to the sharing of churches, the nicest thing I can say is that the idea is bonkers and I truly hope that it will never become a reality in any Ordinariate whether in the UK or abroad.
There is already an issue of letting the potential converts understand that Anglicanism is a completely different, utterly opposed, fundamentally antithetic choice to Catholicism. There is already the fear that many converts will prove fake converts thinking that they haven’t really changed anything, but have only continued to be the same in a slightly different setting (heresy and sacrilege I know; but browse around and you’ll read things that will have your hair stand on end). If to this danger of fundamental misconception we were to add the worship in the same church building as before, we would positively encourage the heresy and the sacrilege; this without even considering the practical problems of how to set the altar, how to care for the tabernacle and so on. Interfaith worship in the same building doesn’t make any sense, it merely confuses the faithful.
Does this mean that all those beautiful churches, now unused, should be left empty? Certainly not. In my eyes, in the coming years and decades some of these churches should be bought by Catholic institutions to be exclusively used as Catholic churches. As the Anglican so-called church has no use for many of them, their value is not very high and as they are mostly Grade I or Grade II-listed they can’t be knocked down to build shopping centres or garages, which circumstance further depresses the value of the land. Catholic dioceses could, in turn, purchase some (or more than some) of these churches and use them in substitution of their monstrosities of the Sixties, whilst the fact that most of the monstrosities are not listed would make it easier to sell the land to be redeveloped for other purposes; some of the newly acquired churches could then be shared by ordinariate and diocesan Catholics without any problem.
In this way, the Anglicans could do something useful for their own people (cash in, and less maintenance costs) and the Church would get a number of beautiful old churches, adequate worship opportunity for the Ordinariate Catholics, the disappearance of many ugly church building and perhaps, here and there, some rather nice real estate deal. A win-win situation, it seems to me, obtained without having to ask (or worse, expect) favours from everyone and without compromising the obligatory doctrinal rigidity of Catholic worship.
Some people think (I know they do, though it is beyond me how this happens 😉 ) that this humble correspondent is too harsh towards the Heresy; that he shouldn’t use this word, heresy, at all; that to do so is rude and (how was the word again?) uncharitable.
But the simple fact is that heresy is heresy however nice the relevant heretic, and that heresy is wrong and leads the faithful to error.
Here (courtesy, once again, of that Catholic wonder called Rorate Coeli; you’ll have to scroll down to the 6th January 2011) we have another example of how heresy, deprived of the help of the Holy Ghost, leads into fatal error and contributes to the demolition of Christian values and of Western societies.
At the Lambeth Conference of 1930, the Anglicans opened the door to contraception. They did it in the usual way such things happen, as taboos are seldom broken openly and defiantly. They just adjusted and tweaked the Truth to the point where it suited the times enough as to allow those people who really wanted to disobey the rules to feel authorised to do so. The issue was contraception, the wording is as follows (emphases mine):
“Where there is clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles. The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipline and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles. The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience”.
This is the same game we have seen at play about divorce, abortion and homosexual relationship and it is the same game we are now seeing played about euthanasia. You don’t try to slam the door open, as this would never succeed. You just open it very little, and leave it to the times and the shift in moral values – shift in values that your first opening will invariably introduce – to open the door completely until there is even no remembrance that in the past the door was always supposed to be shut, no ifs and no buts.
There are Christian principles and there are, we are told, Christian principles in light of which one can go against Christian principles.
Yep, these must be Anglicans…
Thankfully, there is one shop that is the Only One and whose moral values are not shaped by the desire to do as one pleases. Thankfully, Christ has given us a Church against which the Gates of Hell will never prevail.
The Church (the Only One) reacted promptly to the convenient and politically correct pollution of Christian values operated by the Anglicans. The Church knows that when you begin to set the door ajar, it is only a matter of time before it is wide open. The Church also knows that Truth has no “best before” date and is in no need of being turned upside down under the pretence of allegedly using “the same Christian principles”.
Below is the reaction of the Church, with the encyclical letter Casti Connubii, recently turned 80 (emphases mine):
“Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.”
Note the political incorrectness of Pius XI’s words. He makes clear that the Christian tradition on the matter was uninterrupted, not even touched by the heresy of Luther and by the following ones. He treats the Anglicans with a (with today’s eyes) shockingly brutal “some” which doesn’t even leave them the dignity of a group worth the legitimation of their existence, like “ecclesial community”. He proceeds to a strongly worded statement that God has given to the Church Only the task of preserving the Truth, and that this Truth speaks to us through the Pope’s mouth. Clearly, vague innuendos to Catholic truths and barely understandable statements with Catholicism hidden after multiple layers of easy-to-digest platitudes were not the speciality of this saintly man.
Let me say it once again: Truth is Truth and it does not tolerate the pollution with human conveniences. If one proceeds to make exceptions and distinguos in exceptional cases, the cases will soon start to become less and less exceptional as society becomes accustomed to the idea that there is a way out. See divorce. See abortion. See, well, everything. If one starts to hide this pollution with an illusory application of “the same Christian principles”, there will be no limit to the use of vaguely Christian-sounding platitudes to unhinge whatever doctrine has now become unpalatable. When one starts to make exceptions to a principle, the following generation will not even remember what the principle was.
Thankfully, the Church still stands erect in the midst of moral ruin. More proudly erect at some times than at others perhaps, but erect she stands nonetheless. About the moral ruin, surely no doubt is possible.
After today’s announcement of five bishops of the Anglican church, that they will cease every function within the Anglican church at the end of the year and join the Ordinariate when such one is created I am supposed, I think, to be satisfied and see the future of the Ordinariate with some optimism.
Then why I am not?
I am not because it seems to me that, so to speak, the new blood coming within the church is – at least judging from the still scarce information – not really good.
Let us take this interview to the BBC of Mr. Burnham, one of the five swimmers.
If you listen from 0:25 onward, it appears very clearly to me that Mr. Burnham announces his conversion to the Only Church, but still doesn’t have the slightest problem in continuing to consider the Anglican so-called church “part of the one universal Church going back to the time of Jesus”. His problem is not with the Anglicans NOT being part of the Church. His problem is that in recent times the so-called cofE has started “making his own rules”. The several centuries from Edward VI to 1992 don’t seem to be a problem, the very legitimacy of the so-called church of England a given. It is only when the so-called coE started with the novel ideas of priestesses & Co. that he was forced to choose between the “two Churches” and he decided for the “older body” (clearly meaning, make no mistakes, that both “bodies” are “Catholic churches”).
Furthermore, he sees his conversion as a way “for the churches to move closer together”.
Pardon me, Mr. Burnham, but a Catholic cannot, absolutely cannot see “two churches coming together”. There is only the One Church – which is right – and an ecclesial community – which is wrong – and no other decision than the one to leave the wrong community and join the Only Church.
All this talking of the “two churches”, of continuing to see Anglicanism as a part of the Church, of wishing a union between two supposed churches is the explicit confirmation of what many had feared: that the new “converts” do not bring any Catholic orthodoxy with them, but rather introduce an element of heresy within the organisation they want to join.
It would have been very easy and very beautiful and very orthodox for Mr. Burnham to say that the events of the last decades have started in him a painful but necessary process of discernment; that at the end of this process he has come to the conclusion that the Only Church is.. the Only Church; that he has come to recognise where is the truth and where is the error; and that he hopes that many other faithful still within the Anglican so-called church would reach, in time, the same conclusion.
Nothing of the sort. Not one word. From one who is publicly announcing his conversion. On the contrary, explicit legitimation of a heretical body as “church”.
If the UK Ordinariate is going to work along these lines I wish it a painful death, from the heart.
This is not conversion; this is invasion.
Classic FM is the biggest radio station for classical music on the planet. It is listened daily by more than 5 million people. As it is fitting for such a broadcasting heavyweight, they have their own news team.
Unfortunately, this news team sounds like the lovechild of the “Guardian” and the “Independent”; so much so, that I generally switch away before the news as there’s nothing worse than beginning the day by being infuriated by those people.
This morning, I imprudently omitted to do so and therefore I heard that the Pope would held today 1) an ecumenical ceremony 2) in a “show of unity with the Anglican church” (the very words! I kid you not!).
I almost had my caffellatte going down the wrong pipe. Besides the obvious absurdity of the “show of unity” with an ecclesial community of which the Church doesn’t even recognise the validity of the order (and which, by the way, goes to show the extent of wrong information and utter tosh spread even by national media outlets), I was not at all pleased at hearing that still another “ecumenical encounter of the wrong kind” would take place. The words led me to assume that it would be a mass, which would be unsurprising by people thinking that this would be a “show of unity”; but honestly I do not remember the exact words now as the “show of unity” bomb and the caffellatte took all my attention.
Can you imagine Pius IX having an ecumenical Mass with the so-called archbishop of Canterbury? Pius X perhaps? Pius XI? What about Pius XII?
There is a reason for this. Whatever the theological gimmicks used to justify such exercises, every ecumenical Mass engenders the idea that there be no big difference whether one is Catholic or Anglican, whether his communion is the Real Presence or a fraud, whether the celebrant is a priest or a layman, a Catholic or a Heretic.
This cannot be right and in fact it isn’t. Every old doctrinal text or booklet will tell you that a Catholic is supposed not to pray together with members of other faiths, let alone participating to ecumenical masses.
Therefore, after succeeding in sending my caffellatte down the right pipe and as I felt the usual adrenaline surge of such occasions, I thought that this was a very bad mistake.
Thankfully, though, the website of the papal visit seems to give a different view. The program merely mentions a “fraternal visit”, with the Evensong. The papal visit website doesn’t even say whether it will concelebrated. It might be that the Pontiff merely listens, I do not know yet.
Bad as this is, this not an ecumenical mass, which softens the blow considerably. Still, I do think that this is a mistake and that the Papal visit should have sent a stronger message in defence of Catholicism and should have paid more attention in order to avoid any confusion between the Only Church and the rest. You can be diplomatic without being ambiguous after all.
How inappropriate this Evensong is, is showed by the likes of Classic FM, for which this largely diplomatically motivated encounter becomes “a show of unity”. One could say that the Pontiff is not responsible for the superficiality of utterly ignorant liberals and one would be right; but once again we are in front of the importance of sending a clear message.
A lot of people inform themselves only superficially; the Church should, if you ask me, help even superficially informed people not to have any doubt about what is what.
I have written yesterday about the drama of Anglicanism, where more and more people are discovering that they belong to the wrong shop without being able to draw the uneasy, but necessary consequences.
Today I’d like to point your attention to an article from the Anglican “Church Times” giving some insights of what is happening within the Anglican Communion and how most Anglicans will react.
Last weekend, a South East Asian representative of the Anglican Communion put to the vote the proposal to….. kick their American province out. It does make sense: once acknowledged that their theology has become so fundamentally different in a lot of key areas, it is plainly absurd to continue to pretend the existence of a unity which is not there anymore.
As a Catholic, one understands them all too well. To be united in one religious community means to believe the same things, failing which we have different communities. The Arians, the Nestorians, the Pelagians etc. have been declared not to be part of the Church because…. they didn’t believe what the Church believed.
Anglicanism seems to work differently, at least in its (as the Church Times says) “overwhelming majority”. No theological difference is so big that it would justify a separation. Rather, compromises are sought (and invariably found). For an Anglican, a separation would (and I quote again) “inhibit dialogue” and be therefore “unhelpful”.
As a result, the Anglican Communion will continue to have in its midst people who believe everything and its contrary; in transubstantiation, in consubstantiation, or in none of the two; who are in favour of bishopesses and priestesses, in favour of priestesses but against bishopesses, or against both; who consider themselves Catholics of the One Catholic Church (funny, this), Catholics of a separated church (funny that, too) or (correctly) Protestants; who believe in apostolic succession, or select their bishops through a democratic process; who consider homosexuality a perversion, or fine until one doesn’t commit sodomy, or jolly good and perfectly in order whatever one does; who want their bishops straight, or homosexual provided they are celibate, or homosexuals and living with their lover provided there is no sex (it gets funnier and funnier), or homosexual with a lover and full-blown sodomy and this is absolutely spiffing.
This is modern Anglicanism. Its only commandment is “Thou Shalt Not Split”. No difference is so big that it should “inhibit dialogue”, even when the differences are clearly insurmountable. Some of them will one day, unavoidably, recognise that this has become a parody of a Communion (and Anglicanism in vast parts a parody of Christianity) and will leave; but they’ll be a minority, no doubt considered “intolerant” and “judgmental” from the rest.
Imagine now Christianity of the first centuries. Imagine the Church saying to the Arians that there are differences, but they will be dealt with in a spirit of dialogue; telling the Nestorians that to declare them heretics would be “unhelpful”; telling the Pelagians that they will not be excluded from communion because the work of the Church “would be diminished if it lacked a range of opinions”.
“Ahh – I hear you saying – but the Church would never do that because the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and these ecclesial communities aren’t; which is why they change theology, split continuously or remain together with different creeds and end up believing in inclusiveness and niceness as only guiding values”. And you are right, very right.
It remains a mystery to me how Anglicans can see the scale of the mess and still believe that the Holy Ghost is in any way, shape or form behind the Anglican Communion; how they can see the transformation of their communion into something completely different, nay, into many things completely different from each other and still pretend that it is the same thing as, say, only 100 years ago; how they can see the Holy Spirit inspiring one generation to believe the exact contrary of what former generations have been inspired to believe.
When we Catholics complain (as we should) that the one or other priest is heterodox, the one or other bishop socialist or the one or other cardinal outright devilish we should still reflect that no Pope or Council has ever said that divorce, abortion, sodomy, priestesses, bishopesses, consubstantiation & Co., & Co. are, henceforward, to be considered just fine. We should consider this and say: Thank God I’m Catholic.
The so-called bishop Schori (a so-called “woman bishop” from the Episcopalian so-called church in the USA) is visiting England. On occasion of her stop by the Southwark Cathedral – where she was allowed to preach the new gospel of political correctness to the usual “inclusive” audience – she was, as reported among others by Father Z, not allowed to wear her mitre but forced to carry it instead. This is because whilst she sees herself as a full-fledged “bishopess” the so-called church of England – belonging, mind, to the same Anglican Community – apparently doesn’t. This episode is a beautiful reminder of what happens when a so-called church is, not being the Only Church, consequently not helped by the Holy Ghost.
In the wonderful world of Anglicanism – where everyone believes what he pleases whilst at the same time maintaining that they are one, ehem, church and calling this “broadmindedness” or better still, “diversity” – Ms Schori is so many things to so many people that one almost becomes vertiginous. For the more conservative Anglicans of Catholic sympathies she is neither a priest nor a deacon; for others she is not a priest, but merely a deacon; others still think that she is a priest but, alas, not a bishop; and for a last group of very “inclusive” members she is a bishop, even if their spiritual head disagrees with that.
And all this, believe it or not, within the same soi-disant “church”. Funny, isn’t it?
Anglicanism is the most similar thing I have ever seen to a Pizza Express menu, where everyone can not only pick and choose the basic variant of his faith but also add those particular toppings he thinks most appropriate and savoury for himself. In the meantime, this so-called church sinks in an ocean of highly publicised controversies at various levels. It appears that the various so-called churches of the Anglican Communion are trying to react to the declining number of faithful by becoming less Christian, more politically correct, more secular in their outlook and as a result more controversial, more divisive and yes, more ridiculous. A pure marketing exercise, and a very short-sighted one at that.
The moral and theological bankruptcy of Anglicanism (in his numerous flavours) is under everyone’s eyes. It will get worse as the number of adherents continues to head south as it has done in the past several decades. The attempt to save themselves by embracing secular ideology will only accelerate the decay. This is what happens when the Holy Ghost does not help a community of faithful: they will split in countless conflicting and purely personal interpretations of the Only Truth. Tot capita, tot sententiae. This is the destiny – and in fact the reality – of all protestant ecclesial communities, without exceptions.
There is only One Church. She has been founded by Christ. Accept no substitutes.