I will not miss all of the protestant crap that has dogged Anglicanism for so many years. I will not miss the ambiguity of the BCP (Book of Common Prayer) communion rite. I will not miss the disunity that exists from parish to parish. The every rector and bishop as a pope concept will also be but down [sic] as we will be unified with the Holy See on all matters of Faith and morals. We are seeking to repair the church from 5 centuries of protestant heresy...
The assumptions that are embedded in this sample are instructive for all of us, for they demonstrate a particular brand of ignorance that has to be acquired through learning. Not just anyone could be so well-read in all the wrong stuff, so as to produce so genuine a specimen of regurgitated misinformation. It takes real learning to be that ignorant. My brief reply at the time does not do justice to the hard work and effort it took to comment with such abandon, with such confidence, with such a air of what it truly means to be sophomoric.
And, if you want to go from being merely ignorant to being profoundly stupid, I suggest the following curriculum as the kind of learning to labor at, in order to achieve the goal.
1. Anglicanism under Archbishop John Hepworth
2. History of Doctrine through the writings of John Henry Cardinal Newman
3. Anglican History under and /or through ANY official Roman Catholic sources
4. Current Roman Catholic polity and Anglican Orders by reading The Anglo-Catholic.
This combination of learning is guaranteed to take you from mere ignorance into the profoundly sophomoric religious confusion of a relatively new brand of Anglo-Catholicism that is a shell of its former self, or, rather, a substitute for the real thing. As such it stands in contradiction of the truth that we have been publishing here for quite some time.
Let us take apart the comment in order to make each point serve the purpose of genuine information, by its refutation.
"...I will not miss all of the protestant crap that has dogged Anglicanism for so many years...We are seeking to repair the church from 5 centuries of protestant heresy..."
Certain Anglicans react to words exactly like the poor soul who wrote that. Many years ago, I too would react to the word "Protestant." But, then again, the route to education lies through the Sophomore Pass, and once upon a time I had only just emerged from that spot on the trail. I also thought that "Protestant" was the opposite of "Catholic." Rather than writing to address this point again, I will refer the readers to a previous essay, written years later, after I had recovered from the wrong influences.
I will not miss the ambiguity of the BCP (Book of Common Prayer) communion rite.
Translated, this means that the poor man who made the comment is looking for the Rite to express an exact theory of either Transubstantiation, Receptionism, Real presence or Real Absence. He is unable to see that the Rite exists in the context of a well thought out theological position that is neither Tridentine, Lutheran or Zwinglian, but rather Biblical and Patristic. That later writers would draw out more is a testimony to its authenticity. Here, again, it is enough to refer to previous posts, such as this one and that one. Come to think of it, this one also gets to the point.
Furthermore, he is blind to the fact that the Communion Rite says everything (Lex Orandi Lex Credendi) that needs to be said for a valid sacrament, and for the benefit of the people. The Gospel is proclaimed in the service in a direct way that too much addition threatens to obscure. The meaning of the sacrament and its soteriological significance is stated fully, as is the reality of Christ's Presence in the sacrament. The full context of Eucharistic Sacrifice and the summary of all true sacrifice is stated in terms more clear than any other Mass or Eucharist in Western liturgy.
I will not miss the disunity that exists from parish to parish.
I have yet to find perfect unity anywhere in the Church, whether from parish to parish or even within a given parish. This is not a distinctly Anglican problem, and the poor man (or woman) may become a Roman Catholic, a Baptist or a Greek Orthodox, etc., only to find that Original Sin affects everybody. In the Anglican Catholic Church we are very much aware of our own battle with sin, as a hospital for sinners rather than a club for saints. But, we have Canons and a Constitution as well as adherence to a body of Doctrine of faith and morals. That is as much as can be expected from the human side; for the rest we need the Holy Spirit-which is, itself, one of the doctrines.
The every rector and bishop as a pope concept will also be but down [sic] as we will be unified with the Holy See on all matters of Faith and morals.
He (she?) is being set up to experience disillusion when his Platonic ideal of Roman Catholicism crashes against reality. This I have seen many times, and I believe the Roman Catholic Church would be only practical and responsible to put up a sign somewhere that says, "warning, do not look for perfection here."
But about the first part, that "every rector and bishop a pope" business, I see in that a criticism of Anglicanism that came directly from Archbishop John Hepworth, I believe as the original source. Unlike Archbishop Hepworth, I was raised in Anglicanism, baptized by an Episcopal priest in 1958 and raised in that church when it was still faithfully Anglican. The Anglican ethos is as much a part of me as the marrow of my bones. Apart from the weird schismatic portions of what some call "Continuing Anglicanism" (but that we cannot recognize as such), his criticism demonstrates to me that he has no grasp of the Anglican ethos at all. It misses the target, and describes something altogether unknown within Anglicanism. It tells me that we are not dealing with genuine criticism, but something utterly manufactured by the critic. It tells me that I am not dealing with a fellow Anglican.
The answer for those who have learned ignorance is to keep learning, but to gather facts from different and better sources. Get through the Sophomore Pass and beyond it.