Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Anglican Problem

There is a lot to love about Anglicanism, and more about Anglicans.

The Anglicans have some wonderful traditions, not least musically, and many wonderful people.

Yet it is founded on error, and remains error-strewn.

I have been reflecting on this following the visit of Justin Welby to the Holy Father, and the various comments and reports on the visit.

On the one hand, of course, charity demands courtesy and respect for the leader of the Anglican communion.  On the other hand, charity also demands that we do not risk any confusion about the true situation.

The soi-disant Church of England, for all its wonderful people and wonderful traditions, is a body established in defiance of, and in some ways in opposition to, the Church that Christ founded.

That has real implications for those who adhere to it.  Without for a second questioning their good faith, one can see that at the objective level, Anglican doctrines are faulty, Anglican orders and sacraments are illusory, and Anglican moral reasoning corrupted.

Therefore we do nobody any favours if we pretend that there is any equivalence between Anglicanism and the Church.

Now that the possibility of collective reunion seems so much more remote, following the decision to admit women to Anglican orders and other similar moves away from their own Christian heritage, we surely have a responsibility to work and pray for the conversion of individuals.

The challenge is how to make clear the claims of the Church to Anglicans, in a way that they may be able to hear.

It won't help to pretend it doesn't matter if one is Anglican or Catholic, but I can easily believe that confronting people with the truth too baldly will simply put up barriers.


Mark Lambert said...

Very well put Ben. Of course, the Church of England was the established religion of a world empire, with enormous cultural and social influence. Today, the Church of England is still globally influential in at least one sense: It is the only Protestant church with an impressive semblance of Catholicism which it displays over much of the globe through its 60 million or so communicants. It therefore can seduce a great many Catholics into thinking that Catholicism is possible in an Anglican fashion: with all the spiritual comfort which all those sacred rituals can give, but without significantly curtailing the individual's freedom in matters of faith and especially in sexual morality.

Have you ever read Blessed John Henry Newman's lectures on the dangers of Anglicanism? Entitled: Certain Difficulties Felt by Some Anglicans in Catholic Teaching They have apparently been surpressed because they address the futility of the illusion of remaining catholic within the Church of England. In these lectures Newman shows that contemporary failure of the Anglican hierarchy to stand up on behalf of baptismal regeneration was but part of a long chain of similar failures, a chain amounting to a sinister inner logic at work within Anglicanism. And can't we see that today with Anglicans like Nicholas Holtam, Giles Fraser and Richard Coles?

Ben Trovato said...

Thanks, Mark.

I don't think I have read Newman's 'Certain Difficulties' though I may have done years ago. My memory is not what it was, and I find myself repeating myself and repeating myself, too.

I will dig them out (if I remember!).

Not sufficiently familiar with the chaps you name to pass comment on them, but the fact that some Anglican bishops refused to stand up for Christian marriage in the Lords, and that others did do so, illustrates one aspect of the problem rather well, I think.