18 November 2009

Taken for a ride

Yes, I know my piece on the pronouncements of a certain bishop not a million miles from here sounded cross. But I am cross. The first three decades of my life were a time when we told repeatedly that we should let nothing stand in the way of the organic unity of all Christ's Church. It was, we were solemnly informed, a Gospel imperative. Some of you may find this hard to believe; but I so far imbibed these prescriptions that, as a young priest in the Oxford Diocese, I voted for the Anglican-Methodist unity scheme in the late 1960s. Then ARCIC was set up with the aim of resolving the old problems in an atmosphere in which each side would not put any new problems in place. How I rejoiced.

Now it is clear that I, gullible fool, was being taken for a ride. The Ecumaniacs never had any intention whatsoever of restraining themselves from indulging any of their own faddish novelties in the interests of unity - the only fads to be dumped in the rubbish bin ("trashcan" trans mare?) were the fads I had; little details like Episcopacy being part of the esse of the Church, and all that. Now some new Pentecost, apparently, has revealed that the Ordination of Women is an imperative transcending any and every other, including Unity.

I've been made a fool of, and I don't like it. More importantly, Rome (like other Christians further East) has been made a fool of. It invested (as Walter Kasper explained) in ARCIC, only now to be told that Anglicanism has more important games to play than Unity with the Ancient Churches. And these people have the impertinence, the gall, to ask sneering little sarcastic questions about whether Rome is ecumenically serious. Just because Rome has extended a welcome to those of us who remain faithful to the ARCIC hope.

Damn them for their impudent condescensions and deceits.


CPKS said...

Nice to be reminded of the Anglican/Methodist unity talks. I went and had a look at http://www.anglican-methodist.org.uk/ and was interested to see great reluctance, on both sides, to discuss (or even reveal) the issues that divide them. On one page, however, I managed to find the definitive list of items that divide the two confessions, and I thought I would summarize them here.

Abortion: both Methodist and Anglican links went to pages that have been removed
Alcohol: Anglicans are still worried about this, but Methodists have deleted their Alcohol page.
Animal welfare: it appears that both Anglicans and Methodists have moved on to more serious issues, as both links went to deleted pages.
Baptism: Anglicans offer a page promising fairly detailed explanations. Methodists have deleted their baptism page.
Bio-ethics and genetic engineering: in the same case as Abortion and Animals.
Confirmation: Still on offer from the Anglicans, but axed by the Methodists.
Contraception: See Animals.
Domestic Abuse: See Animals.
Drugs: See Alcohol.
Euthanasia: See Animals.
Homosexuality: See Animals.
Hunting: See Animals.
Marriage: see Confirmation.
Peace and War: Anglicans have a page detailing a traditional theological approach. Yet another 404 error from the Methodists.

Verdict: things have moved on since the Anglican/Methodist covenant. Specifically, the Anglicans appear to have kept their views on the sacraments, but scrapped all moral teachings to do with medicine, sex and animals. The Methodists have seemingly changed or abandoned everything, but are not letting on which.

Are the two confessions any closer to unity?

Joshua said...

Good to call things what they are!

I too hate supercilious, mendacious talk of "dialogue" as some revelatory mechanism. To find real points of agreement, to dispel prejudice, fine; but also it should clarify, not shy away from, real points of difference. One wonders whether a Marxian progression from thesis and antithesis to synthesis is the imagined modus operandi.

Did Athanasius and Arius sit down to tea, amicably compose their differences, and decide upon a Dyarchy not a Trinity, by dumping the Holy Ghost in favour of upholding the Son? Heaven forfend!

This sort of "dialogue" is code for endless talking that leads nowhere or, worse, is planned to lead to one side agreeing to what it doesn't want, just for the sake of peace - as if Rome is going to finally calm down and wink at priestesses...

Such untruthful plots corrupt. One instantiation of this is the tendency among English Catholics to pathetically curry favour with Anglicans - as for instance the English College in Rome giving +Rowan not just a bed but an altar: and it seems in poor taste to allow the successor of the persecutors of the Forty Martyrs, among them many alumni of the Venerabile, to officiate in the very chapel where their torments and deaths are portrayed on the walls. Would that rays would flash from them and... persuade him of his errors.

But no, "Saint Dialogue", patron of hopeless causes, may be invoked against perception of the truth.

Joshua said...

This insidious method of perverting the course of dialogue to encourage, not greater unity of belief, but greater unbelief, doubt and indifference in all their morbid diversity is I think a notable trap of the Enemy. It certainly has had grave effects throughout the Catholic Church in the years since the Council - many religious orders and dioceses have been laid waste by the manipulative use of it.

motuproprio said...

It was this ecclesiastical three card trick that led me to seek reconciliation with a Church that possesses a magisterium tasked with maintaining faith and morals under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Nebuly said...

I believe there was more: there has been a deep-seated Anglo-centred Anglican arrogance in all of this: 'Jonny foreigner will learn our superior ways'.

Nonetheless your words ring out. We have been deceived. Have you recently re-visited the Meissen and Porvoo Agreements? They make very different reading from ARCIC. Our dealings have been duplicitous and we must repent our part in the evil.

Pastor in Monte said...

A Very Highly Placed (RC) Prelate, very closely involved in ARCIC, whose public words have always been eirenical, said to me after the 1992 vote, 'we've been sold down the river'.
Mind you, I always thought that the moment it was decided to attempt to ordain women to the diaconate was actually the break moment. I could see no argument (other, I suppose than sexism) that would permit a woman to be a deacon or priest but not a bishop. Either women are valid matter for the Sacrament of Orders or they are not.
Anglicans at the time argued that women deacons could do less damage than bishops, and so many people (like Graham Leonard) who should not have agreed, went along with it, (hoping to demonstrate that they were not in any way sexist) but thus, I think, betraying the principle. The Rubicon was crossed, and there was no retrenchment possible. From the day the first hands were raised in favour of women's diaconate, it was only a matter of time before they were raised to attempt episcopacy.

Albert said...

Now some new Pentecost, apparently, has revealed that the Ordination of Women is an imperative transcending any and every other, including Unity.

Absolutely spot on (though I'm left wondering what the "imperative transcending Unity" is that's kept you in the Anglican schism).

Joshua said...

I believe the author of this blog has indicated that, at least previous to Anglicanorum cœtibus, he feared being left at the mercy of liberal R.C. philistines, without prospect of ever standing again at God's Board...

William Tighe said...

Fr. Moreton has an interesting tale top tell about Graham Leonard, Garry Bennett and others, regarding an attempt to dissuade the then Bishop of London from "ordaining" woman "deacons."

discipula said...

I hereby acknowledge, everyone, that I was one who in all innocence (and stupidity) persuaded Graham Leonard et al that Women in the Diaconate was a Good Thing and did not automatically imply the follow-on to the priesthood and episcopate. Mes maxima culpa. I repent in dust and ashes. I have now crossed the Tiber, as witnessed by the author of this blog.

Steve said...

"...we should let nothing stand in the way of the organic unity of all Christ's Church".

I quite agree.

Why, then, do we have Rome (and others) telling us that rejection of women priests is a unity-busting issue?

(a) Rome are wrong (which Fr H will obviously disagree with); or
(b) Those who accept women priests are not Christians (in which case the C of E is no longer a Christian church - I need not go into the implications of this).

If there is another possibility I'd like to know what on earth it is.

GOR said...

As we say here in the US, Father: “Now tell us how you really feel…!”.

Just joking, of course. I do commend your forthrightness and empathize with your feelings of loss and betrayal. Growing up in the Ireland of the 40s and 50s ‘Ecumenism’ wasn’t very much on Irish minds, as I recall. Given our shared history and the political realities of the time I suppose this was not to be unexpected. It was a ‘Them’ and ‘Us’ feeling and we viewed ‘Them’ as part of the ruling class for the most part and responsible for all our woes - if not personally, at least by birth or lineage.

While the population was over 90% Catholic (and most of them still practicing…), we had some non-Catholic friends growing up, but not many. As we went to different schools there was a divide between us and social interaction was limited. ‘Mixed’ marriages were frowned upon and, consequently, rare in my rural home town. So there were limited opportunities for close relationships and religion was not discussed at all. Though my home town had Methodist, Presbyterian and CofI churches, we didn’t distinguish – they were all ‘Protestants’ to us!

While Ireland sent lots of priests to the ‘English Missions’ – and we knew many of them – I doubt that concern for Christian Unity was prominent in many Irish Catholic minds at the time. When I came to England in the 60s I was surprised by the Church Unity Octave which was observed in Catholic churches each January. If it was observed in Ireland I confess I wasn’t aware of it – hence my surprise. I was also surprised when entering a ‘High Church’ Anglican church to find how closely it resembled a Catholic church – at least as to externals.

But my surprise was also tinged with some guilt. Shouldn’t we have been working and praying for this all along? History and politics aside, aren’t we all Christians and shouldn’t we be united? With the advent of post-Vatican II Ecumenism, I still had some initial reservations about the process. While I could appreciate the value of emphasizing what we had in common, I had a hard time getting past our differences. On the one hand would not the process dilute convictions and end up weakening our own stance? Would we be ‘letting the side down’ as it were? And if not, were we just papering over our differences?

As time progressed and the CofE drew further away from Rome, I began to lose hope. Instead of drawing closer together, we were growing further apart. So what had Ecumenism achieved? Had we sent the wrong message? In an effort to emphasize our common bonds had we signaled a willingness to dilute doctrine? Or was our initiative seen as weakness, thus allowing some in the CofE hierarchy to stray further from the path?

A sort of: ”Qui tacet, consentit”, perhaps?

Figulus said...


Good questions all. When do you suppose Rome will step up to stop its ever accelerating slide away from Anglicanism?

Anonymous said...

GOR, another Americanism (paraphrased) is:

"Novus ordo happens"

Without the debacle caused by V2 and the volte-face of the NO mass (ie 'Lex orandi, lex credendi' became 'Lex credendi, lex orandi') much that now is could not have been.

The devil has been a very naughty boy lately.

austin said...

It has often struck me as odd that liberals object to the very sparingly applied infallibility of the Holy Father. When it comes to their own pet causes, infallibility is simply taken as given and applied with juridical penalties.

Unknown said...

Steve said: "(b) Those who accept women priests are not Christians (in which case the C of E is no longer a Christian church - I need not go into the implications of this)."

You seem to be setting us up by suggesting that if we don't go for your option (b) as few of us would, we must then say that Rome is wrong.

I, for one, don't buy either of your "options".

William Tighe said...

(b) Those who accept women priests are not Christians (in which case the C of E is no longer a Christian church - I need not go into the implications of this).

I choose (b), in the sense that those who accept women priests are not orthodox Christians, are heretics -- like Arians, Montanists, Marciontes and Gnostics -- probably rather more heretical than classical Arians and somewhat less so than Marcionites and some Gnostics.

As to the implications for the Church of England, I leave Anglicans to work that out. But clearly we can begin to see the name and nature of the Church of England as it is emerging under the aegis of ignorant synodsmen ideologists and an archeveque faineant. Its name is SWEDEN or SveK for short.

William Tighe said...

"SveK" is a delightful Swedish term. As a word, "svek," it means "guile, deceit, treachery," but as SveK it can represent "Svenska Kyrkan," or "Church of Sweden," an institution whose past some 30 years ago is the church of England's present, and whose present (as a totalitatian pseudo-church) is the Church of England's future.