Without revealing any sources or naming names, I will quote a portion of an email I received Monday. I make no claim that it is entirely accurate, and ask for more details and for clarification. Nonetheless, it is the view of a reliable man, according to another reliable man (forgive the double sourcing. And, I hope Ed and Sandra will still be talking to me-although their own commitment to Anglicanism has never been in doubt- but, I must speak out now). The email said this :
"[This man] had been a delegate to the ACA Diocese of the Midwest Synod _this_ summer. This man has been an Anglican for many years and said he was simply, 'appalled' by the presentations at the synod. He stated they basically came out and declared Anglicanism a failure and that the Romans had it right."
Unfortunately, knowing that one of their bishops, Rt. Rev. George Langburg, was the man who said that line about a 450 year-old failed experiment, and knowing other facts that give context to that statement, I am saddened, deeply concerned, and feel that it is time to ask just what is really going on? If I have any facts wrong, to those whose position it is, please say so. Not for me, but to reassure your own people before you lose them.
Why should any Anglican have to doubt the level of commitment to Anglicanism held by his bishop and clergy? Should not these Anglicans be given some clarity about comments that Anglicanism is simply "English Culture" or "500 years of mistakes?" Is it unreasonable to ask for this clarity? Why shoud I, from the outside, be champion to worried and unhappy members of a jurisdiction to which I have never belonged? They write to me, and lay their fears and concerns out privately (And, please, before anyone quotes John 17: 21, should we really think that a few thousand people switching denominations-or creating a western Uniat- could amount to some sort of apocolyptic healing of disunity in the Universal Church? There are about three billion Christians in the world).
Keep your inferiority complex to yourself
Unfortuantely, in the last generation or so, education among some of the Anglo-Catholics in this Continuing movement has been very poor, and by no means does this problem belong exclusively to the ACA/TAC. Recently, I received an email from a man who told me this:
In my parish I've been told the 39 articles belong to a peculiar period of history and are no longer really relevant. They are too "protestant". I've also been told we do not subscribe to the 39 articles because they rule out adoration and procession of the sacrament, and this undermines the Oxford movement, etc.
The ignorance that this reveals is simply inexcusable. Anyone who wishes to be educated on why this ignorance is appalling needs only to go to the right on this page, and see the link to further links to my essays on Classic Anglicanism, including this detailed explanation of Article XXV that I posted only about a month ago. Those who read it for the first time, and learn from it, may begin to grasp that Anglicans who hold to Classic Anglican doctrine have nothing of which to be ashamed. I make a deliberate point of using Article XXV itself, the most misunderstood Article of all, to demonstrate that the English Reformers were the most true and faithful Catholics of their time. They were right then to reject the innovations of Rome, as we are right to reject Roman innovations now.
The best path back to the doctrine of the earliest Catholic Fathers and Bishops, that is, to the teaching that truly is Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est, lies not through Rome, but through the English Reformers. Truly educated Anglicans of the Continuum, have no reason to feel inferior to their Roman Catholic brethren. Indeed, it is Rome that has learned many things from us, though they cannot admit it.
I say to you who have an inferiority complex regarding your Anglican affiliation and Rome, read my essays, as well as Fr. Kirby's Apologetics, and begin to learn. If not, you may swim the Tiber without me, and get buyer's remorse later.