Monday, November 13, 2006

Whither Anglicanism?

The Rev. John Hunwicke has an extremely interesting essay posted on titusonenine web blog. In it he asks some rather pointed questions, like where is the Anglican Communion going? Not that many years ago it seemed headed to reconciliation with Rome and maybe Orthodoxy. However beginning in the 1970’s it took a sharp left turn and has been driving down that road happily ever since. Rev Hunwicke writes in part…

It is now clear that Benedict XVI is making Christian Unity the great aim of his ‘brief pontificate’. We hear of a visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch; reports of a major and extended visit to Rome by the Patriarch of Moscow; of a major RC– Orthodox document next autumn; of overtures to some of the more orthodox separated fragments of Latin Christianity. There surely can be no doubt that Cardinal Kasper’s visit to England should be seen in this context. Rome is in effect saying ‘Do you want to join the game? After all, we thought you did, back in the Sixties when together we set up ARCIC [the Anglican–Roman Catholic International Commission]. Have you really now abandoned the old Anglican dream of unity with us and with the ancient churches of the East? Does the Lord allow you to do that?’

And there are persistent rumours of a Vatican committee set up to take a careful look at those parts of the fracturing Anglican faith-community which are Catholic-minded and Catholic-converging. After all, Benedict XVI is the Joseph Ratzinger who spoke so sympathetically about us in the early 1990s; who sent a telegram of solidarity to a traditionalist Anglican gathering in America; who encouraged the Anglican Usage of the Roman rite – Anglican parishes in America united with Rome and continuing to use what is in effect an Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

So there is a real prospect of a great outbreak of Christian Unity and of us out in the cold. In the past, some Catholic Anglicans have been keener on unity with Rome, while others have looked further east. This is now a seriously dated disagreement. What we now face is East and West uniting, while we sink into a morass of women bishops, gay marriage, and liberal Methodists; doubtful sacraments and clergy who make light of the doctrines of the Creed. And all Kasper got from his journey to warn us was unreconstructed archiepiscopal abuse of Rome in our Synod, and a silly ‘paper’ by two bishops saying that Junia is the answer to everything.

Setting aside some very speculative rumors about which I have heard absolutely nothing the essay in its entirety is well worth a read.
Hat tip to Bill (AKA The Godfather)


Anonymous said...

I never cease preaching that the term Anglicanism is equivocal.

On one hand, instituational or generic Anglicanism is a formalism defined by communion with and recognition by the See of Canterubry. In this sense, the term is a neologism. Also in thist sense it represents the incoherent comprehensive type of Anglicanims that includes everything from Agnosticism to Calivinism to neo-Thomistism to Anglo-Papalism.

On the other hand, Anglicanism proper is a school or party of religious thought that grew within the C of E based on the patristic aspirations of the founders of the C of E. Indeed, the Anglican party is one whose trajectory takes it from the Elizabethan apologists to the Caroline Divines, to the Old High Churchmen, to the Moderate Tractarians, to the Prayer-Book Catholics. Anglicanism proper is distinguished by its rejection of "Liberal Christianity or Liturgical Secular Humanism," of Anglo-Tridentinism, and of capital-R Reformed (Calvinistic) theology. It aspires to the Ptrsitic Consensus in theology and the Prayer-Book tradition in worship. It lives on in various Anglican (generic sense) jurisdictions.


Anonymous said...

We have had one or two sharp exchanges in the past, Mr. B., but let me put a question to you again, in a slightly different fashion than formerly.

If we are to take your second paragraph, above, as read -- *datum, sed non concessum* -- and bearing in mind your comments elsewhere about the necessity to get rid of (I suppose that you mean in the milieu of Continuing Anglican bodies) "Anglo-Tridentinists" (whom I would term "Anglo-Papalists" with a slightly different nuance) and "capital-R Reformed (Calvinistic) proponents, why should not the "Anglo-Tridentinists" and the "Reformed" be any less hesitant in trying to purge, repress or "debellate" those of that party to whom you ascribe the term "Anglican?"

I am not unfamiliar with "the Continuum" any my impression is that those whom you term "Anglo-Tridentinists" and "Reformed" are, one or the other, the dominant factions in the most considerable Continuing Anglican bodies (the TAC/ACA, the APCK, the REC and even the ACC-OP ). Perhaps the ACC-OP would best fit your picture, but those with whom you would perhaps most identify with in that body, those whom I would term "the Orthodoxophiles," left in 1997 to form the "Holy Catholic Church-Anglican Rite" and in 1999 the most dedicated and informed of these left the HCC-AR to form the "Holy Catholic Church-Western Rite" as a result of their conviction that the term "Anglican" or "Anglicanism" itself had been hopelessly tainted by the compromises embodied in the Elizabethan Settlement and "embedded" in Anglican bodies ever since.

I have had, if I may say so, personal contacts with both ++Morse of the APCK and ++Falk of the ACA, and I am pretty sure that both of thse men would be closer in their outlook to what you characterize as Anglo-Tridentism than as Anglicanism. I an not acquainted with Abp. Haverland of the ACC-OP, not with Abp. Grundorf of the APA or PB Riches of the REC, but I cannor bring myself to believe that either a body in which every single one of its bishops has been divorced-and-remarried at least once (the APA) or one which is stuck, due to the cleverness of the lawyers who were its Founding Fathers, with a "Declaration of Principles" that embodies a Reformed outlook (the REC) could be your "Anglican" exemplar; so that would mean by default the ACC-OP. But my real question is, is there any "ecclesial community" on the face of this earth that embodies "Anglicanism" as you conceive it?

Anonymous said...

Of course, speaking for myself, I don't believe that Elizabeth I's church was "Anglican" either: my friend Gary (G. W.) Jenkins' recent book *John Jewel and the English National Church: The Dilemmas of an Erastian Reformer* (Ashgate, 2005) shows how remote Jewel's theological, ecclesiological and liturgical views were from anything resembling "Anglicanism" (just as the varied publications of Diarmaid MacCulloch have done for Cranmer) -- an "-ism" which was conceived and given its genetic make-up by Richard Hooker, birthed and fostered by the likes of Lancelot Andrewes, John Buckeridge, John Overall, educated in part by Cosin, Laud and Montague (all of whom wished to modify some of the Hookerian genes) and come into its heritage after 1660.

My point is, that even if one is to ascribe the name "Anglican" to a certain "school or party of religious thought" there is nevetheless (a) no particular reason to conclude that that particular "party" should have any greater claim to the "title deeds" of the ecclesial entity that Parliament coaxed into existence in 1559, or its offshoots, than any other party, and (b) no reason why any party of "Churchmen red in tooth and claw" should tolerate the existence of any other rival parties within their own particular bailiwicks.

How different all of this is to anything resembling Orthodoxy or "Patristic Christianity" I leave to the reflections of the host of this blog.