14 June 2015

"Anglicanism united not absorbed"

I remember having an entirely good-natured running dispute with the late Dean of Studies at Allen Hall, the totally admirable and affable and hospitable Dr Stephen Wang (Vescovo subito!).

My view was that we of the Ordinariate are Anglicans in full Communion with the See of S Peter. His was that we are Catholics with Anglican Previous.

My instinct is based on a lifetime of longing for the realisation of the vision set before us by Dom Lambert Beauduin and taken up by Cardinal Mercier in the Malines Conversations, of an Anglicanism united but not absorbed.

There is nothing purely abstract here; this is not about how many angels can dance on the head of a needle: it is a practical matter bearing upon the subject of just how distinctive the Ordinariates should be. And even upon the question that nags at some Ordinariate clergy: Keith's Chrism Mass or the Diocesan one? It seems to me that the whole grammar of what blessed Benedict XVI set up, with its culture of rapid admission to the priestly life of the Catholic Church upon the presentation of ones Letters of Orders from ones Anglican Ordinations, points to the duty of consolidating a strong group identity, even in the case of clergy who may be out on loan, full or partial, to diocesan bishops (the synchronic side of things).

Moreover, being in the Ordinariate carries with it the duty of a strong sense of identity with, and continuity from, our past (the diachronic). This is why I keep hammering on about our great 'Patrimony' teachers; not only Blessed John Henry Newman but also Pusey and Keble and Neale; Dix and Farrer and Mascall ... Lewis and Sayers ... separated Doctors of Catholic Truth. Not to mention blessed Charles Stuart and William Laud. Oh, and let's not forget Ken and the Non-Jurors. They are who we are ... transplanted!! Transplanted in coetibus! Patrimony is not just Choral Evensong. Patrimony is Pusey .... and ...... and ........

8 comments:

motuproprio said...

Please don't overlook Bishop Frank Weston of Zanzibar - a patrimonial prelate if there ever was one.

tradgardmastare said...

The whole richness of Anglo Catholicism and it's history and mission has been carried with you indeed.
Alan

Charlesdawson said...

For those of us of a certain age (let's say, over fifty), even though given a secular education, the language and rhythms of the Anglican Church are "part of our blood and bones" as a friend of mine once put it. As I remember it, legally non-denominational daily services at school - from the impressionable years 5 to 18 - still used the majestic prose of the AV, which prose itself infused most English literature at least up to the Second World War. Even if they did not belong to the Church of England in any meaningful sense, most people self-identified with it because of this infusion. Judging by statistics such as the Census, this no longer holds true.

I therefore wonder about the generations now coming up. If they learn about Christianity at all, they are probably saddled with some gruesome "modern" (= already dated) version of the Bible - and don't get me started on the translation used in the Catholic Lectionary or I might say something unfortunate....and as for knowledge of literature... That also has been updated, as I understand it, by TV dramatists, to make our heritage more "accessible/relevant" (= dumber).

I suspect therefore, Father, that as this older generation passes, the love and knowledge of the Anglican traditions will also pass, unless either the C of E miraculously renews itself, or is fully absorbed, but not lost, into the Roman Catholic tradition.

roberts said...

Dear Father,

Part One:

I thought you, as an Ordinariate, had become Catholics - having previously been in a heretical ecclesial communion that, providentially for you, accomodated you with no little generosity and tolerance - especially since the middle of the 19th century onwards. But I'd just assumed that the Ordinariates were now Catholic in the way the Maronites had always been Catholic: So, keeping Anglican customs and liturgical expressions, accepting Catholic dogma, contributing to the rich traditions of Catholic doctrine, and submitting, in holy obedience to the Vicar of Christ.
That said, and probably confusing things a little more, unlike the Maronites you were at one time separated - and, indeed, unlike, say, the Thomas Christians in India, your tradition willfully separated itself from The See of Peter. Now, in you, part (but only part) of that tradition has returned to Communion with the See of Peter (Deo gratias!) but, at the risk of a distasteful parallel: Bruce Jenner's recent identification of himself as Caitlyn has led, absurdly, some to claim that even when he was a man, he was - because he felt it to be so - a woman. Accordinly, for some, even his past life as a man has to be referred to in the feminine. Leaving aside the wilful refusal of the genetic continuity that means that Bruce/Caitlyn still contains pesky XY chromosomes in every cell nucleus that compose his body, I'm not sure that just because he felt, however sincerely, the identity he claims he has now attained, that that was the case. Likewise - you didn't make yourself Catholic through the sincerity of your convictions. Firstly, as you know, it was God's work in you, long commenced, undoubtedly. But He works through His Church and the See of Rome and their Institutions - as a theologically realistic understanding of the Incarnation inevitable requires. So, until they gave you welcome institutionally, no matter how Catholic you felt personally, you weren't. How God might have judged you, of course, is neither for you nor indeed, Holy Mother Church to speculate. You'll only find that out post-mortem.

roberts said...

Part Two:

In short, then, I'd always understood that the Ordinariate had been welcomed home.
Yes, you've brought some of your own furniture. But you haven't added any new rooms. You went back to the quarters vacated by the Anglicans perhaps, back in the 16th century. Pope Benedict did not build a walkway extension from his place to yours as if to say: you were Catholic all along and here's the new corridor to prove it. Just as the Anglicans didn't take any of the essence of the Church when they separated, neither did you add anything to that essence when you returned. It was not in their remit 500 years ago, nor was it in yours a few years back. You came home - with your baggage - some of it wonderful and worth keeping. And you found a father in Benedict who, very beautifully and generously, said, "yes, of course you may bring that along with you."

In that sense I'm not at all sure what this is supposed to mean: "separated Doctors of Catholic Truth."
Well, maybe. You'll have to explain that one to me again, though. Calling most of the men in that list of yours 'Doctors' seems like a retrospective Caitlyn-like misattribution of identity to the Bruces that they actually were, no matter how keenly they felt "inside" to be part of the Catholic whole. They weren't - actually though, were they? They were Anglicans. (I mean, in their formal ecclesiasitical identity.) You're close to Branch Theory with this, it seems to me.

In the end, I guess this will all be settled by the Holy Spirit: We'll see if the Ordinariates exist in the way the Maronites, Melkites, Armenian Catholics etc, in the centuries to come. If so, then you were right. If not, well, you weren't.

Please don't see this as a critique it isn't in any way. Your blog's erudition, knowledge of Tradition, and Sense of the Faith is one of the keenest on the internet. Far better than my own. I'm just not convinced by what you're saying here and am looking for clarification.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Aidan Nichols, The Panther and the Hind, page 128, and see page v. "Separated Doctors of the Catholic Church" "magistro catholicae veritatis". I commend the whole book.

Lynda said...

Manifest heretics are not members of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Charley Larkyns said...

The Anglican Patrimony of the Ordinariate is, I think, actually an Anglo-Catholic Patrimony. HTB is as much Anglican as S Mary's Bourne Street, but presumably it is not something you wish to preserve in the Ordinariate?

I would also suggest that the Patrimony is more an ethos. Indefinable, but we who have been Anglo-Catholics know what it is.