28 July 2009


I think I do understand the attitude of Dr Ian Paisley to the Roman Catholic Church. She uses the Bible; talks a great deal about God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ and the power of the Spirit; demonstrates in her members what look like the fruits of the Spirit; but, at her heart, underneath all this, she does not subscribe to the core Protestant superstition: the idea that a Christian is justified by fiducia alone. So she is a fraud made all the more horrendously perverted by the fact that that, by adorning herself in tatters and rags stolen from the Gospel, she looks like the real thing. It would be no use explaining to Dr P that the RC Church, for example, actually deploys a great deal more Bible in her life than Presbyterian Churches do; that is not the point. He would simply reply, in that splendid Ulster accent with all its diphthongised vowels, that this makes her all the more of a dangerous, blasphemous, fraud.

He has got the meaning of the term Antichrist right, whatever else he has got wrong. The essence of the concept of the Antichrist is that he, the ultimate manifestation of evil, is skilfully dressed up so as plausibly to appear the genuine article. It occurs to me to wonder if the movement known as Affirming Catholicism is exactly this. The enthusiasm and the technical mastery with which they deploy their props - the lace, the monstrances, the music, the incense, the 39 buttons down their soutanes - are they simply deceptions of the Evil One, designed to draw away the faithful from their Redeemer?

I mustn't let my rhetoric run away with me. Some of them are decent and well-meaning, but misguided, people. I am not their judge; I shall stand before the same tribunal as they do. But there are some of them who have a virulent hatred of us. They do not say "These people who reject women priests are decent and good Catholics with whom I would wish to collaborate in every possible way because - except in this one issue - we share the same faith; and I wish them well because - although they're just making this one mistake - they can share with us our mission to spread the Catholic Faith within the Church of England". They want to see us persecuted, they want to see us denied a place within the Provinces of Canterbury and York. Their hatred of us seems visceral.

Now that's where the devil really is.


Fr. Steve said...

Wow. These revisionists seem to be everywhere, don't they?

Unknown said...


As a former schoolmaster you know better than most when a line is being crossed from rapier wit to just plain rudeness - I suggest you've crossed it.

Unlike you I've never taken any opportunity to publicly decry FiF or the movement to create a separate jurisdiction for those opposed to women's orders.

Unlike you I have never insulted any group of people based on who they love.

Unlike you nor have I fallen for the line that a separate jurisdiction guaranteeing sacramental validity is anything other than another Church.

As a Catholic Anglican I would love to be able to work with 'traditionalists' on church growth and evangelism but my experience is rules are reviseds to keep safe a 19c French priestly devotional tradition which has no relevance either to the demands of 21st century England nor to the Catholic church!

How are we to engage with one another as proper humans, remade in Christ, if our choices are constantly denigrated?

Nebuly said...

'Unlike you I have never insulted any group of people based on who they love.'

'(those) whom they love' surely

I write under correction and from Hibernia

Unknown said...


I'm check your blog daily, but this post caused me an element of concern. Whether you agree with Affirming Catholicism or not, I'd like to think that I'm reasonably in touch with the organisation and I can't think of any of them who fit the description you have provided.

They have a different understanding of ecclesiology and orders, but I've not met a single one who actively hates FiF. Whilst I don't believe AffCaff as an organisation is particularly effective, I have to say that the FCP priests I've met so far have been good, decent people, caring for their parishes in the Catholic tradition in which they have found themselves.

I have however, met some distinctly unpleasant people in the FiF/SSC camp.

Unknown said...

Of course FCP priests are good & decent, for most of them are in conscience unable to accept the innovation of women's ordination.

Perhaps Saint Justin is thinking of SCP - the Society of Catholic (sic) Priests - an organisation which, like Inclusive (sic) Church, is in bed with Affirming Catholicism.

austin said...

The hatred of traditional beleivers which Fr H speaks is certainly in evidence in the US. I have seen it and experienced it repeatedly, and it is nowhere stronger than in those former AC shrine parishes that have been 'turned' and subscribe to the new religion. It begins with patronizing ridicule, but the hatred emerges after the second drink.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Father, this is a bold post and your point is most excellently made! Invoking the blowhard so called "Doctor" (DD, Bob Jones U - give me a break) Ian Paisley makes quite the petard to hoist them on, HAHA! The "Affirming Catholics" are liars. They "fall down, and humble themselves, that the congregation of the poor may fall into the hands of their captains" that they might "ravish the poor."

Only Screwtape himself could have concocted so subtle an entity as "Affirming Catholics."

Tom Peters said...

"But there are some of them who have a virulent hatred of us."

I have no doubt that some AffCath folks have a virulent hate of traditionalist Catholic Anglicans. These are, after all, difficult times, and difficult times bring out both the best and the worst in people. But as an American Anglo-Catholic who is in regular contact with other affirming Catholics, I see very little of this. If anything, I see more hate from traditionalist Catholics than from affirming ones.

Father Hunwicke, look at your own post. You've charged the AffCath folks of being the antichrist! I can't think of a more hate-filled thing to say about fellow Christians. This is truly a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Perhaps we could all do with turning down the rhetoric a little?