Thursday, May 10, 2012

Slowly getting back

Last week the Diocese of the South, Anglican Catholic Church Original Province, where Archbishop Haverland is the Archbishop Ordinary, held yet another boring Synod. We boast about how boring our synods are because we want to attract people who are accustomed to exciting synods, and cannot bear the thought of yet another interesting time. After the business is finished there is always a good time to be had by all, largely due to my parish's own Mrs. Kylander, who provides cigars and bourbon for all of the synod's synnors among the clergy.

On the final day of the synod, I was reminded of how great a relief it is to former members of either of the Two One True Churches to discover the Reason in Anglican humility about the Church Universal. We have never claimed to the the One True Church. But, as the re-posting of this, from December 12, 2006 clearly shows, I was rescued from so great an error myself held once long ago.

The True One True Church

My e-mail contacts keep me abreast of theological blogs, and make me aware of ongoing disputes. For example, recently the encouraging and beautiful meeting between the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch was used by one self-appointed Roman Catholic apologist as a springboard to attack the validity of the Metropolitan's title, and to set up an apologetic for Rome against Orthodoxy. I like to think that the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch would be saddened by this use of the news about such a wonderful meeting.

Nonetheless, I have decided that I agree with the Roman Catholic apologists who say the Orthodox Church is not the One True Church; and I agree with the Orthodox apologists who say that the Roman Catholic Church is not the One True Church. In this matter they both prove their points; they are both right.

On the Pontifications Blog, Al Kimmel stated it as one of his "Laws" that "any church that does not claim to be the One True Church is only a denomination or sect." I like Al, personally, but I must say that he has stopped short of the full logic of this allegedly self-evident law. We should go a step further. So here is my Law: Anyone who does not claim to be, all by himself (or herself as the case may be) the One True Church, and to possess in his person the fullness of the Catholic Church, is not a church, but only a part or member of the body.

Therefore, I am announcing now, after much consideration , that I have decided that I (as in me, myself, yours truly) am the One True Church- just me and no one else. Yep. Unless you are me you cannot enter into the fullness of the Catholic Church. I am sorry about the uncertainty of everybody else's eternal standing; but, hey, that's how the cookie crumbles.


Roger du Barry said...

Thanks for the smile, but you forgot to mention the other One True Church, the Baptists.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart:

I've lost count of the number of times that I've heard and read Romans and Greeks say that Protestants have no concept of authority other than their own private judgment. The saying always irked me, but I could never find the words to explain what was wrong with the statement. One Roman priest even told me that I don't really believe in the Trinity, because as a Protestant, I only believe in what I think is true, whereas a true Christian believes because he is obedient to the Church. I learned recently that the same priest has moved from the Roman to the Greek fold. I wonder by what authority he made this change? How did he manage it without private judgment?

Every mortal being faces the same problem; how can I be sure that what I believe is really the truth? How can I know that the angel who visited me (literally, or metaphorically) is from God, and not the Devil in disguise. As far as I know, none of us can escape from the burden of our own private judgment. It's like eyesight; yes, it is faulty, but it is the only faculty of sight that we have.

I came to realize that the Romans and the Greeks are in exactly the same situation as the Protestant, having to discern the will of God from the available revealed data. They try to dodge the responsibility by submitting themselves to an infallible church of their own choosing. Thus, they push the problem of authority back a notch, but they never really solve it.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

To lose the capacity to make private judgments is to lose what we call Reason. To be devoid of Reason makes one incapable of intelligent thought and conversation. It is a red herring. Here's an oldie but goodie, if I do say so myself.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

Let me add one piece of practical mysticism. Jesus said to Peter, about his confession, "Flesh and blood has not revealed this unto you, but my Father Who is in Heaven." Ultimately, unswerving faith in the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, etc. are found wherever the Holy Spirit is present. He inspired the Scripture, and those who have the Spirit understand its essential message. See I John 2:20,21.