Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not so Divine Comedy...

...of errors

Just when I thought I had heard of every possible mismatch of backgrounds among episcopus vagans (episcopi vagantes in the plural), popularly called vagante, along comes some even more ridiculous concoction of ecclesiastical tossed salad. That is not to say, however, that these vagans folks should be confused with absolute vegetarians (vegens). But, the tossed salads I have seen in the past do include quite a mixture of vegetables. There was my favorite, the Celtic Orthodox Church, headed by some "Abbot" who needed only his Costello to be complete (that would make a great movie title: The Abbot of Costello). The real Eastern Orthodox Church never heard of these jokers, and their "Celtic" authenticity was seriously undermined by their Texas venue, not to mention their modern origin.

Well, now there is a new one: The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church (ALCC). One can well imagine the sound of Tallis being sung by the choir while the organist plays the music of Bach, both of which are beautiful when not played together. If Texas Celts can worship in the style of Constantinople, we may certainly enjoy the combination of Wiener Schnitzel served up with Yorkshire Pudding. It all makes a great tossed salad for episcopus vagans--and I don't mean pagans.

It is so much fun visiting the websites of the respective parishes of this unimaginable ALCC, or it might be if only they had any real websites other than a main central one loaded with photos of, you guessed it, guys in collars (or Men in Black). Well, the whole Vagante side dish reminds me of the time when our friend The Barking Toad went after diploma mills that pretended to be respectable seminaries. Any vagante Archbishop in need of a church to match his miter, takes his cue from what the Marines do; he looks to find a few good men. Maybe, if he gains enough converts, or new members, by offering them ordination (when no one else would) he might, some day, have a real church, maybe even a real stained glass window--you know, one of those essential things that constitutes a mark of the True Church.

Well, in case you thought the name "Lutheran" was a mismatch with the name "Anglo" (and gee, thank God they did not say "Anglican"), never worry. In their eagerness to look legit, and to be respectable, they have thrown Dr. Luther under the Church bus, in fact, under the Coeti-bus. Orlando's tragic blog of comic relief, "The Anglo-Catholic" of misnomer infamy, is rejoicing this day because the Anglo-Lutheran Catholics are trying to get into the whole Roman ordinariate club. So they report:

"On May 13, 2009, The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church (ALCC) mailed a letter to Walter Cardinal Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, stating the ALCC 'desires to undo the mistakes of Father Martin Luther, and return to the One, Holy, and True Catholic Church established by our Lord Jesus Christ through the Blessed Saint Peter.'”

It is a comfort to find "Lutherans" whose commitment to Lutheranism is every bit as deep as the Orlando gang's commitment to Anglicanism. A name, what is in a name? An Anglican, or Lutheran, by any other name would smell as feet... in sneakers after a long run. And, not just any run, but a run through a superficial approach to doctrine, so superficial as to make a mockery of the word "convictions." But, among the vagante element, convictions give way to "theology" that suits the mood of the times, and their idea of the latest marketing scheme.

The blog at Orlando goes on to say:

"The letter further stated, 'As we proceed toward the erection of Ordinariates we would invite you, therefore, to make contact directly with Archbishop Wuerl at the following address…' Humbly, the ALCC responded with a resounding 'YES', mailing a letter to Cardinal Wuerl in compliance with the correspondence received from the CDF, requesting to be a part of this wonderful reunification within the Body of Christ."

Translated, of course, what that really means is that Cardinal Kasper had the good sense to pass the buck and wash these fellows out of his hair. "Write to Archbishop Wuerl" means, "It's his problem now, not mine: Whew!"

Of course, just as "The Anglo-Catholic" webmiester, one Mr. Campbell, demonstrates the depth of his integrity by clinging to the name of his choice all the while renouncing the meaning of that name, so these "Anglo-Lutherans" show the depth of their integrity by inexplicably clinging to their own peculiar misnomer. They have the temerity to call themselves Lutherans, but publicly state:

"...the ALCC 'desires to undo the mistakes of Father Martin Luther...'It is with great joy and deep gratitude, therefore, that the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church makes known her intention to enter the American Ordinariate under the provisions of Anglicanorum coetibus, and looks forward to serving with all our brothers and sisters in Christ to undo the Reformation."

To undo the Reformation? Well, changing history requires, at the very least, a time machine. In the meantime they might consider acquiring enough honesty, or sanity, to change their name, as Mr. Campbell could change the name of his blog (TASS is no longer being used). They would at least look a bit less ridiculous. "Lutherans" condemning Luther and renouncing the Reformation? Well, one advantage of the episcopus vagans world is that you can believe anything you want, making it up as you go along. In the Octopus' garden of episcopus vagans there are no rules. One may simply play "church" by making a costume from the vestments worn by bishops, priests and deacons. Vagante play their game by dressing up like men who have a real ministry, but they cannot hide their true wannabe condition.

As for the Orlando ordinariate champions; they are so desperate that they have scraped the bottom of the barrel. But, I'll give them this: At least they have steered clear, if only by their western style, of my favorite vagante bishop of all, the "Orthodox" vagante bishop who owns the title, "Shepherd of shepherds, and Master of the Universe." At least I think he owns it. Perhaps it is still under copyright by the Marvel Comics Group.

14 comments:

Wesley 'Whitey Lawful' Mcgranor said...

These are another aspect of the term - postmodern church.

Anonymous said...

But the ALCC includes among its vast array of play-prelates (vast in comparison to the numbers in the pews, mostly in the Sudan) several self-styled Monsignors. Surely a valuable contribution to the Anglican Patrimony of any future Ordinariate?

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Pews in the Sudan? When our Bishop Garang arrives in Sudanese villages, on his bicycle, he is thronged by large crowds. Pews, however, they cannot generally afford.

Fr. Wells said...

The notion of some sort of half-way house between The Truest One True Church and the phantasy world of the Episcopi Vagantes has been bouncing around since the time of Arnold Harris Mathew. It is not in the least surprising that this has surfaced once again in the Diocese of Disney World and the theme park which has sprung up around Anglicanorum Coetibus.
Water will find its own level.
LKW

AFS1970 said...

Now this may just be a matter of semantics, but some of these esteemed bodies may just have been able to somewhat legitimize themselves. Think about it, as bizarre as it seems the episcopi vagantes are Bishops without a diocese. However these new Bishops that they are involved with consecrating have dioceses, tenuous as they are. Thus they have ceased wandering. Oh what a tangled web we weave...

Dr Lawry said...

It wasn't that long ago that the prelates of Des Moines, Orlando and other points, before the days of the "pro-diocese," warmly merged with the "United Anglican Church" only to toss them off the bus a year or so later once even they saw that no one was home.

Ron said...

Not too long ago, I ran across the website of the ALCC. The metropolitan's "International Headquarters" has the same street address and telephone number as "Ecumenical Ministries" and "Anytime Weddings." Catholic.org now reports that the ALCC will, indeed, "Enter Catholic Church through Anglican Ordinariate." So they've got that going for themselves, too, which is nice.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

With all due respect for Catholic.org, I do not believe their report. Rome is not going to bother with so small a fish, at least not unless they became part of something bigger first.

Ron said...

Maybe "Anytime Weddings" is part of the ALCC growth strategy.

lexflyingfish said...

I see on ALCC's website that they accept as confessional documents: "the unaltered 'Augsburg Confession'...the 'Thirty-nine Articles of Religion' from the 'Book of Common Prayer' of the Anglican Church, (as interpreted by John Henry Cardinal Newman in 'Tracts for the Times' [I believe they're referring to Tract 90] insofar as they do not conflict with authentic Catholic faith and tradition)...the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the documents and decrees of all Ecumenical Councils recognized by the Roman Catholic Church [including of course Vatican II], and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church."

I may be stating the obvious, but this seems like a recipe for mental anarchy and self-contradiction, in so many ways. As far as I know, the Roman church doesn't officially accept Tract 90. And didn't Newman himself after his conversion throw the Tracts, the Articles, and Anglicanism as a whole under the bus, denouncing "the Englishman's mind" in the broadest, most caricatured terms imaginable?

Also, I don't even want to guess what tortured (il)logic they use to reconcile the Augsburg Confession's statements in favor of breaking monastic vows with their other confessional documents.

I guess anything's possible with the wonders of "doctrinal development"!

AFS1970 said...

I do not think anyone will need to become part of something bigger in order to join Rome for a couple of reasons. First of all Rome does not recognize any of us as valid regardless of size. In order to do this they would have to sort of acknowledge that the larger jurisdictions are in some way more legitimate than the smaller ones. That is something Rome will never do.

The other reasons I can see them accepting these smaller jurisdictions is simply to pick them off in a way. Remember for the laity there is not much of a status change. However clergy will face a great change. First they will become Roman laity, then if they meet the requirements they may become Roman clergy, but if they do not they will still be Roman laity. From the Roma perspective they are much better off this way.

For Rome they are fixing a problem, and I can't help but think that from a continuing Anglican perspective they might not be doing the exact same thing.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The laity will have problems. Their Confirmations will not be recognized. If they have remarried, even after a proper annulment, they will not be allowed to have Communion until they go through the complicated, long and expensive steps required by Rome, etc.

Tom said...

Some years ago, our diocese was approached by one of the ALCC 'Monsignori' about incardination as an ACC priest. When he was informed that he would need to attend the doicesan school of theology, and undergo sub conditione ordination, (and would no longer be addressed as monsignor)he suddenly lost interest in the ACC.

AFS1970 said...

I know folks who have bought "Catholic Divorces", I mean received annulments from Rome. I had never thought of that. I wonder how that will effect the often married Archbishop himself?

I had not thought of confirmations, but I guess if they do not recognize our Holy Orders then they can not recognize anything done by those with said orders, despite telling them to keep on doing what they have been doing while they wait patiently to be told not to do what they shouldn't have been doing (at least from the Roman viewpoint).