Nonetheless, after several years and much cleansing, it is clear that the Concordat between Bishop Doren's descendants, namely the United Episcopal Church North America (UECNA) with the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK) and the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC), is a concordat between Anglicans of like Faith who are determined to work out whatever details are necessary. A new respect for Classic Anglicanism, one that makes room for all who adhere to The Affirmation of St. Louis, including all who like their worship either High, Low or Mid (or Mid-High, or Mid-Low) has been developing in part, we like to think, because of The Continuum. We are finding a kind of unity that even the old Anglican Communion could not produce in its best days. The other big house on the block, however, the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) has no interest in unity with Continuing Anglicans.
We have traced TAC Romeward roaming for quite some time, especially since their various official organs gave a terribly misinformed spin to Anglicanorum Coetibus even before it was released, and for the first several months after its publication. Now, however, the bishops of the American branch of the TAC, the Anglican Church in America (ACA) are faced with a very divided response among the people they had thought, until recently, they could simply herd into Roman Catholicism. Meanwhile, in England the TAC faces its biggest obstruction as coming from the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) itself.
No wonder the present track of that blog we call The Former Anglican (known by the misnomer, The Anglo-Catholic) is concentrating on the choice to be made between the Church of England and Rome. News about the recent General Synod, and the inevitable consecration of women "bishops" to lady it over the people, have produced only those two options. The posted articles treat the solution for C of E Anglicans, of catholic conviction, as Roman Catholicism through the --as of yet unformed-- ordinariates. The idea of suggesting that the Continuing Church, based on The Affirmation of St. Louis, offers a solution worthy at least of consideration, has not been brought up at all. If the TAC considers itself to be, in any way whatsoever, a Continuing Anglican Church body, and if the Orlando blog pretends that it holds to the "Anglo" in its misnomer, then this absolute Rome or bust! line is a betrayal, spurning the "spirit of St. Louis" and the spirit of '77.
What it tells us is simply this: To those Anglicanorum Coetibus enthusiasts The Affirmation of St. Louis, with all of the doctrinal standards of the Book of Common Prayer, is dead and ready to be buried. In place of Anglicanism they hold to what they have called Anglican Patrimony, which, by their definition, is a far cry from the real thing. Boiled down to its actual ingredients, what they term Anglican Patrimony is nothing more than Elizabethan English and classier music than most RCC parishes have at present. The substance is missing.
This false choice, as laid out for the English Anglicans, is tantamount to saying that catholic minded Anglicans in the United States have only two real choices: The modern Episcopal "Church," or the RCC. Indeed, if one strips away the veneer, that is what the ACA bishops were saying only a few months ago, though more delicately phrased, slightly. But, they found that their people will not suffer such betrayal of their principles so easily (and we hope, finally, not at all).
Of course, what else could we have expected from a church body led by clergy whose education, for the most part, has been little more than brainwashing? They reject everything truly Anglican, but speak of "Anglican Patrimony"-- you know, all the thees and thous and a few beseeches (garsh! if that ain't real Anglican with all them pretty soundin' words)--and pretend that Rome, by accepting that, and maybe even preserving it, is saving our heritage (so, what would we need Shakespeare for?). What they do not get is that any actual substance from real Anglican Patrimony is unwelcome in Rome.
And, what about the clergy whose "education" has been a program of brainwashing? These are the kind who have taken a razor blade to the Book of Common Prayer and have removed the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, mainly because they cannot understand the foreign language, English, in which they were written; and, indeed, really, they cannot understand it. Now, the Stand-firmers and other Reasserters have sort of done the same thing, only from the opposite perspective. For, what they have done is to remove the Articles so as to transform them into a stand alone feature, removed from the genuinely Catholic context of the Book of Common Prayer, so that their meaning may be perverted and twisted to the furthest degree of misinformed imagination. The Reasserters, have never removed them physically by cutting them out; but, they have removed them mentally, to stand alone, where they may be converted into nothing more than a Reformed document in the Zwinglian sense.
But, the brainwashed clergy, of whom I speak, are a purely modern (or post modern, if you must) new breed of so-called Anglo-Catholics, who know the Articles no better than the Reasserters do, and actually see them the same way (that is, as Zwinglian). They have been taught the following equation, drummed into their heads until they spew it back as their own conviction:
Anglican + Protestant = bad.
The brainwashing is designed to convince them of the following Universal "Truths" that are somehow quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est, even though they were unknown to anybody until the mid to late Twentieth Century. Supposedly, they form the basis for the Oxford Movement, even though the great Anglo-Catholic writers, from the Oxford Movement on, may be quoted in abundance to refute them-- oh the joys of Doctrinal Development.
1. All things "Catholic" are defined strictly by Ultramontane Papists.
With the help of this thinking, one need not study the Bible nor the Church Fathers. Carefully selected and provided sample quotations will suffice. One may pretend that the great Anglican thinkers (including Cranmer) never proved to be the fine Patristic Scholars that, in fact, their writings prove them to have been.
2. The highest duty of a priest is to celebrate according to all the most minute details of Ritual Notes.
Forget worship in spirit and in truth, compared to this much much higher priority. Forget pastoral duties too. It's all about correctly stepping in time in the keenest duds, a performance like Broadway never saw. Boy, won't they be the envy of RC parishes every which where!
3. Our Anglican Fathers were heretics who somehow gave us a splendid liturgy, fully valid, and their patrimony is still, somehow, a great treasure for the whole Church Catholic, despite their obvious and embarrassing heresies.
Never mind that a tree must bear its own fruit. Never mind taking the time to read the great early Anglican writers. Rome says they were heretics, and bothering to read all that olde English is too much work anyway.
4. It's a priest's duty to deliver whimpy, effeminate seven-minute homilies instead of preaching with power and conviction.
Contrary to this idea, I quote a great man whom I remember as a fine example for all Christian clergy: “How much more our words would burn as we preach . . . if, before preaching, we prayed for five minutes to the Holy Spirit for Pentecostal fire; if we kept the scriptures ever near us, that we might gird ourselves with their truth when mounting the pulpit.” Those words were written by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen 3-for all you youngsters who don't know, a dog of a papist but an ok guy anyway.
I could go on with more examples; but, methinks you have the idea. Is it any wonder that the principles of The Affirmation of St. Louis have been betrayed? With clergy like that, who needs detractors?
1. However, most of the divisions that followed the 1978 Denver Consecrations were among those who already had divided from what emerged as the major jurisdictions, and so their never ending strife should not surprise us, nor its rippling effects as they part from each other, treating division as the cure all for what ails. To be blunt, they just don't count, anymore than breakaway sects ever have counted to the Church. Freedom of Religion guarantees that we will continue to see all sorts of prelates and heirarchs with their own "Continuing Church," perhaps holding services in their own cathedral/garage (cathedral on Sundays), with their whole jurisdiction in attendance: Their bishop, Molly and he and baby makes three, along with Spot the family dog, and one or two very elderly folks who drive from out of town every once in a while, constitute the whole church. It is not fair to lump these in with the Continuing Church, as Anglicans Online does. Before Anglicanorum Coetibus came out, when I still entertained hope for unity that included the TAC, I wrote an essay that you may find by clicking here. It balances out the facts.
2. I am not taking a stand on this one way or the other. I say it was, I am told, his perspective.
3. Fulton J. Sheen, The Priest Is Not His Own, San Fransisco Ignatius Press, republished in 2005 (originally 1961).