22 March 2010


I find it very irritating that I don't kow how to get my computer to do those joined-up O+Es.

An argument for staying with Rowan and putting up with the Womenbishops which deserves respectful examination, is the "Incarnational" consideration. Here in England, the life of the Church of England is deeply embedded in the life of the Nation. So the Church can appear as an enfleshed sign of the Presence of Christ. This means that a parish priest has the opportunity to be involved in the secular life of his district in a way that RC and Protestant clergy are not. I remember my (second) curacy days in an inner-London slum parish 1970-1973, and our involvement with organs of the Council, with social and community-work groups, with Tenants' groups, with other pressure groups including the Communist Party (which in the 1970s was active in good works and in building social cohesion and pride). I share the view that people without ecclesial links regarded these relationships as natural because they saw the C of E, however confusedly, as relating to the whole community as no other 'Faith Group' did.

Another aspect of the same sort of thing is what I would call the 'porosity' of the C of E. People - especially if they were baptised (and confirmed) as nominal "C of E" - can just drop in ... out of curiosity ... without feeling that this is somewhere wholly alien. They can thereafter be 'hooked' and gradually take a fuller and fuller part in Church life without engaging with complex questions of liminality: without having to decide (as they would if they became Catholic or Orthodox) whether to buy into a definitive credal commitment with implications in terms of breaches in previous relationships. Until - bingo - there they finally are with the full faith. This is real; and I could think of numerous examples of people who ended up RC through this handy little antechamber of Anglo-Catholicism.

These considerations deserve to be taken seriously. People who experience them strongly are not to be despised or derided. I feel, however, that they are now either already unreal or in the process of becoming unreal.

I think that the acceptability of a particular Christian, lay or clerical, in secular community processes is now very much less likely to be a product of his belonging to the Established Church. In as far as such games are still available and possible, my feeling is that they are likely to depend very much more on the personality, interests, and dynamism of the individual than on a C of E background; so that such roles are likely to be just as available to an Imam, a Methodist, or an Ordinariate Anglican. Even in 1970s Southwark, we were helped by the fact that in swathes of the inner City we were just about the professionals still resident in our areas. There is no reason why the same may not be true of Ordinariate Anglican communities.

Finally, I think we have to face up to the fact that in our decade, and not least since the canny and effective Vincent Nichols replaced a bumbling fool at Westminster, the RC Church has shown itself very considerably more successful in maintaining Christian values, ethics, and culture than the "Established" Church. We have to ask ourselves which ecclesial body in this country really now plays the role of Temple or Bell or ......


The Flying Dutchman said...

Œ œ

These letters can be found in MS Word or in OpenOffice.org. From there, copy (CTRL+C) and paste (CTRL+V) should work.

GOR said...

Father I have often wondered if the fact that the CofE is the Established Church - with the Monarch as ‘head’ - is not a stumbling block for some? As a majority of nominal CofE members are not active church participants and are rarely to be seen in church - bespeaking a ‘lukewarm’ faith, I propose - is there perhaps a sense among them that abandoning Anglicanism and embracing Catholicism would be somewhat of an unpatriotic or ‘treasonous’ thing to do?

In lighter terms, I’m thinking of the song: “For he is an Englishman” from HMS Pinafore. If one substitutes ‘Anglican’ for ‘Englishman’ there, would the analogy hold true? That “in spite of all temptation” to belong to another faith, he remains an Anglican – and it is to his credit…? So, lacking some convictions based on faith “John and Mary Anglican” - as Bp. Trautman would put it - remain Anglican because it is the ‘proper’ thing to do?

Just wondering…

The young fogey said...

Œ: Hold down the alt key and type 0140.

œ: alt-0156.

Kevin said...

Unless you are on a Mac.

Then its Option-Shift-Q.

Canon Jerome Lloyd OSJV said...

But in truth these days, any Cleric can get involved - irrespective of denomination - with social causes, associations, campaigns and local authority projects.

The reality on the ground these days does not afford the "local Vicar" any greater influence or respect. On the whole most Civil Authorities don't know what "rights and privileges" the Clergy of the Established Church have. Usually only Clergy who have had or have the "Freehold" seem to know exactly what their rights are "by Law" in affairs concerning directly the Church and those external interests the Church might have influence in and have to educate others of them.

In an increasingly secularised society, Clergy with a desire to get involved with "community" matters not immediately related to the Church, or in areas not immediately under her influence (like a non-Church school) have to tread sensitively and carefully to not upset the PC Watchdogs!

As for the "folk religion" component re "hatch, match and dispatch" it is deplorable that the CofE should be in the condition it is in... As the "Parish" Church, it has had the opportunity to evangelise in a unique way... but the apathy of the Clergy re Baptism and Marriage preparation, shying away from doctrinal teaching about the Sacraments, the rights and responsibilities they are a committment too etc has allowed a dearth in Sunday School attendance and Confirmation candidates. A great opportunity missed!

Before I'm shot down - I believe it is particularly the Clergy's fault - it is they who see the people re enquiries for Baptism and Marriage, not the Wardens, not the PCC, not the Sunday School teacher etc, (though often laity are involved in Preparation Courses). I accept that this is a "generalisation" that may not apply to all Clergy, but... the CofE has had plenty of opportunity to educate and influence and especially for mission that it frankly hasn't used, relying on a moral certitude and social status that in reality, no longer exists, isn't recognised and on the whole ignored and not respected.

Little Black Sambo said...

œ (Alt + 0156); Œ (= Alt + 0140).
You need to use the number on the RH end of the keyboard, not those along the top.

Little Black Sambo said...

Sorry, I see you already know about œ and Œ.

One useful thing about being in the C of E is that the Church has been tied into a society in which the language of monarchy and hierarchy in liturgical and scriptural tradition corresponds to the earthly reality that we can see around us, the monarch being the fount of all authority, and all government being exercised in her name.

Christian Year said...

The RC hierarchy in England simply can not be relied on to defend the Christian faith in public. They have failed to defend their adoption agencies, or to prevent their hospitals being used for abortions, and +Vin Nichols permits gay masses and gay blessings to be advertised at a church in Soho.


The Church of England, by contrast, has extensive links with government through which it can and does successfully work to protect Church life and faith.

What is needed is a new Oxford Movement (as Card. Kaspar suggested) to recapture the Church of England.

It was much, much worse for Anglicans in 1833, but our Fathers in the faith (mostly) did not run away, and their achievements were extraordinary.

William Tighe said...

"It was much, much worse for Anglicans in 1833 ..."

Really? They were "'ordaining' women" in 1833? Thanks for the information.

Jesse said...

The easiest thing to do to get these ligatures on your blog, Father, is to use HTML codes as follows:

To get œ you have to type "œ" (as in "oe ligature").

To get Œ you have to type "Œ" (as in "OE ligature").

Notice that the code for each character must be preceded by an ampersand and followed by a semicolon.

You can find codes for other special characters here.

Christian Year said...

Indeed it was much worse in 1833, when many, if not most of the clergy, barely comprehended that they were in fact ordained.

Sir Watkin said...

The learned Professor and Christian Year are both in a sense right.

The problem for Anglo-Catholics has been that since 1833 they have won most of the battles with protestants, but lost most of the battles with liberals.

The victories led to a false sense of progress, a complacent failure to realise that at best it was a zero-sum game. And now with the the advent of "lay celebration", the dissolution of liturgical worship, etc. Anglo-Catholics are losing on both fronts.

Naught for your comfort, naught for your desire ....

Cherub said...

If you are using Word in latest version, click Insert, then to the right click Symbols, Special Characters and usenormal text and Latin extended-A. Scroll down and you will find œ.