Friday, July 29, 2011
After the noise of battle and yawn
It is sometimes impossible to believe what we have witnessed in the last two years, even though we could see it coming from a few years away. Not more than a few months ago, we had people in Anglican churches, at least in name (many of them clergy), simply assuming that Anglicans everywhere were “just dying” to become Roman Catholics. The idea that Anglicans anywhere might like the church of their affiliation was, it seems, unthinkable.
In the Fall of 2009, when I went all the way to
Delaware to read a paper at a gathering of the Fellowship of Concerned Churchmen, an elderly Monsignor was present to read a paper on the history of “Anglicans Looking to .” When I stood up directly following his presentation to read my paper (someone with a sense of humor must have arranged it), which I entitled “Anglican Identity,” I could tell that he was utterly astonished to hear my affirmation of genuine and classic Anglican tradition as we Continue the same. Someone must have led the poor fellow to believe that all Continuing Anglicans were Anglo-Papalists, all champing at the bit to leap into the Tiberian depths. I am afraid I gave him a terrible shock, poor d..poor fellow. Rome
After reading about the Anglican position of the Reformers from Cranmer to Hooker, then about Andrewes, Laud and the Caroline Divines, and about the contributions of Tractarians, etc., leading right up to the Continuing Church, the Monsignor asked which group of Anglicans I was speaking about. Gee-hard to answer that one (it's like discussing the Declaration of Independence and then being asked which party in the Continental Congress it represented. The answer would be, everyone except John Dickenson, as my answer was, everyone except the apostates).
We may be quite forgiving when a Roman Catholic wrongly assumes that all serious Anglicans are just itching to enter his Papa’s house, especially those of us whose liturgy tends to be High, and whose level of tolerance for innovation tends to be low (more so than the floor). But, what we saw coming out of
Adelaide, and out of Orlando here in the , was the spectacle, not of Roman Catholics, but of self-proclaimed Anglicans who were “shocked, shocked” that anyone would not want to go, and that anyone would dare not to go. They actually expected all their people to line up at the door begging to be let in. United States
After all; all their bishops (the TAC bishops in 2007) signed a book – without any explanation of what the gesture was supposed to mean. But, they did it, giving the big guy in
a card to hold. So, when Rome dished out the ultimate insult to Anglicanism itself, Anglicanorum Coetibus (because, after all, every Anglican is really a homeless waif), we were all supposed to say how “generous” the Italian M…, uh, I mean the Roman Catholic Church was in “offering” conversion with even more "generously" undefined terms of surrender. When some of us stood up to defend Continuing Anglicanism as something to, putting it succinctly, continue, the squeak of outrage from Australia was heard all the way around the world. Orlando
Only a few months ago, the Archbishop of the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC), my own bishop, the Most Rev. Dr. Mark Haverland, made news simply by saying (again really) that after all the noise, smoke and confusion, the largest and oldest of the
Continuing St. Louis Affirmation churches have proved that we are “happy to be Anglicans.” In our circle the whole Roman “invitation” was simply something to inspire a yawn. What is hard to understand, looking back from the calm climate of normalcy that has come about in the last few months, is that Anglicans "happy to be Anglicans" made the news. No one should have expected it to be otherwise.