Sunday, August 16, 2009

More on the "P" word

My recent post on what I call the Root theory was re-posted on Virtue Online, and I received questions about my willingness to use the dreaded "P" word. One comment pointed out that the word "Protestant" does not appear in the Anglican Formularies, and does not appear within the Book of Common Prayer (certain title pages not withstanding). I was asked to comment. This gave me an opportunity to say some things that I was planning to bring up here for our readers.

I replied as follows:

There is no comparison. St. Ignatius of Antioch began using the word "Catholic" early in Church history, and it caught on as a word that describes and even names the Church and the Faith of the Church with the Universal Consensus of Antiquity. The word "Protestant" is neither its equal nor its opposite, having been coined late in Church history. The point is merely this: Anglican usage of the word "Protestant" actually speaks of a goal that is very Catholic.

The problem with Anglo-Catholic reaction against the "P" word is that it is counter productive, and is so in different ways.

1. Arguing, as some try to do, that the English Reformers were not Protestants, automatically gives ground to the Roman Catholic polemicists, by accepting their partisan and inaccurate definition (which definition carries false history). The argument itself is unsustainable, if not patently absurd.

2. Others argue that the Reformers were Protestant, accepting the Roman definition, using the word negatively as if it were the word "communist." The result is they fall into the Roman trap, and begin to doubt Anglican validity.* They try to distance themselves from the Reformers in England, either by rejecting Anglican doctrine, trying to argue that it was bad, but not bad enough to render Orders invalid (this bunch are concerned only with this one point). Or, they rely on the Dutch Touch to set things right.

No wonder such "apologists" cannot help but leap into the Tiber, and cannot do anything but lead people to Rome, instead of into Anglican churches. They have no knowledge and no foundation. They possess a wealth of ignorance.

The realistic approach would help many people remain Anglican. Accept the English Reformers for what they were, and learn why their doctrines were perfectly acceptable in true Catholic terms, true Catholic terms that are older than the distortions of doctrine in Roman innovations and errors. The standard we use in The Continuum is the Canon of St. Vincent of Lerins, Universal Consensus and Antiquity (before anyone reacts, that standard automatically gives the greatest weight to Scripture, which ought to be obvious).

*Of course, as a priest in the Anglican Catholic Church, my usage of the word "validity" is very conservative and traditional. We are not in communion with the Anglican Communion; we continue Anglican doctrine and Orders without modern corruptions.


Canon Tallis said...

As my mother said over and over, the best and most universally successful method of instruction is "repetition, repetition, repetition." But in some cases it helps to check their ears for wax saturated cotton. Nonetheless, I thank you for another excellent and to the point post on the ultimate point of the English Reformation and the classical and orthodox Books of Common Prayer. You keep writing them and I will continue to read them because they make the points which Hooker, Andrewes, Laud, ken and Bull did their best to bring home to the people using the prayer book.

BillyHW said...

Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the Deformation today.


poetreader said...

One of the most important concerns in any historical study is to determine what words meant to those who used them at the time that they used them. Words change in their meaning over time. The English Reformers were indeed "Protestant" in the sense that they themselves used the term -- the sense that Fr. Hart continually points out. It is essential to understand their use of language if we are to have any idea what they are saying. If I were to be speaking the same variant of English that they were using in their day, I too would gladly denote myself as Protestant.

However, I don't like to be called that -- why? Well, because, in the variant of the English language that has developed over the intervening centuries, "Protestant" has come to mean something rather different, something Hooker and others would have soundly rejected.

To the Anglican Divines, as Fr. Hart so often reminds us, "Catholic" and "Protestant" were not opposites, but, unfortunately, except in very technical writing, the language now perceives them as directly opposite. Rather than trying to correct people's language to that of an earlier day, I prefer to remind them that the document they are reading uses the word in a different way than we now do. It's just like the liturgical use of "prevent" and "peculiar", and a host of other words. No one would suggest that these words would appear in those senses in ordinary discourse, but people do need to be taught the meaning of them in their context.

A careful distinction of historical and contemporary use of words, and of the difference in meaning of words used technically and commonly will help a great deal to avoid some of the arguments we seem to get into.

Billy HW

The little smiley doesn't serve to eliminate the unnecessary snarkiness of your response, offered instead of intelligent comment. I could observe that I could apply "Deformation" to the prereformation abuses, like the sale of indulgences and other decidedly noncatholic abuses that were rife -- or, alternately, to some of the changes made in the "Counterreformation". I won't, however. If you object to what Father said, please express your objections. If not, gratuitous insults don't add to the conversation.


pretr said...

Perhaps we ought to admit we lost the war over terminology on both 'catholic' and 'protestant'. Perhaps we can help change this? Certainly it needs to be changed to be less polemical and more historically honest. Does either Fr. Hart or Fr. Kirby have plans to publish their line of thought here into books or pamphlets which might be sold by the Anglican Parish Association for instance? We need a strong apologetic out not unlike Reformed and Romanist churches and their publishing houses, etc.. Right now the only defense I see on APA is ++Haverland's book on Anglo-catholicism. Besides that I've found 'divided we stand' a history of the Continuum written by a Roman CAtholic. It's time we start writing our own summas, apologetics, and history. ? Or else others will do it for us?

I would love to follow the development of this line of thought which Fr. Hart has brought much needed attention, sic., the 'p'-word. As I mentioned once before, original protestants simply petitioned the Emperor for a general council. That's where the terms comes from, but it also included or would lead to a common confession, i.e, the Augsburg, from which we get our 10 articles. Consequently, the basis of the 39 Articles is really the Lutheran confession, and we might say Protestant's core reapproachment is a strong Augustinian, high-grace view; original sin; and justification by faith. Too often justification by faith is misunderstood. To understand it's original meaning one must read Melanchthon's Apology and how Lutherans view the Word's efficacy and power. It's from this view of the Word as 'life-giving' that an objectivist, localized, and literal sacramentology follows.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article!

We must not be afraid of the "p" word as it was used by the English Reformers. We should embrace it! The "p" word indicates that we love the true, primitive catholic faith.

I, too, feel such wonderful writings should be published into book form, even if only on a Zerox machine and bound together by staples! They should be on the shelves of every classical Anglican church, and in the hands of the clergy for their pre-ordination training, and, perhaps, more importantly, in the hands of the laity for confirmation, special Lenten studies, etc.

For the faith of classical Anglicanism (my favorite term for the continuum) to survive, it must be published and written down so that future generations may read it and understand it; and hopefully preserve this "faith once delivered to the saints." I fear that it we do not publish this faith for future generations to read, study, and take to their hearts, it may be lost forever.

I truly believe that classical Anglicanism is the closest representation of the true early, primitive church that may be found.
We must preserve it, and the classical Cranmerian Book of Common Prayer, or it could be lost.

One of the side benefits of the Sermons For Lay Readers collection, is that it, in a very real way, is preserving the theological thought and the history of classical Anglicanism.

Read some of these sermons by the various authors, and you will see the preservation of classical Anglicanism that is happening there.

BCP Catholic

Sandra McColl said...

I'm with Ed. I think it was in The King's Highway (which I believe Fr Hart has recently recommended) that I read years ago that the p-word applies to congregations who don't have apostolic succession and the valid sacramental order that flows from it. That's how I feel comfortable (in the modern sense) using the word and I see no reason to reclaim it for application to myself.

highchurchman said...

As someone who downloads the various weekly editions of the Continuum and passes them out to the people in the Church, I should very much like to support the plea put out to publish them in booklet form! I do them in A4 with Staples, it isn't very successful, but better than nothing, a decent publication would help! If there were some way of downloading simply the articles without the side display, it would at least save ink!

I still don't like the term Protestant,, but can live with others disagreeing!

Canon Tallis said...

I am one who was formerly with ed and Sandra on disliking the "P" word because of the use made of it by Papist and Orthodox. They know, as we should, that most people are not sophisticated enough to make the distinction between the common modern understanding of the word and that of the Anglican reformers in the 16th and 17th centuries. Frankly most Anglicans weren't and aren't either which allowed so many who actually rejected the teaching of the primitive Catholic Church and the Anglican reformers to do such damage over the intervening centuries, damage which they are continuing to attempt to this very day. In this they are, unfortunately, aided and abetted by a certain class of our self proclaimed Anglo-Catholics who have been taught to be ashamed of the prayer book and our Anglican heritage. They believe and teach "if not Roman or Roman apearing, not Catholic" which means that the ancient teaching and tradition of the Catholic Church, i.e., real Catholicism, is rejected by them and appears rejected by us.

The Roman 'New Liturgical Movement' blog love what they call "the antique use" and pump for its restoration in terms of "continuity" because they know it has no claim to the term "antiquity" as defined by St. Vincent of Lerins. They prefer the use of Latin in worship, fully aware that the majority of papists are never going to understand it well enough to be full participants in any service. It had and continues to have the effect of making the services of that Church seem more like the work of wizards and magicians at the altar while the laity are made unimportant and impotent. I believe that it is very important that we not become like them nor even believe that we should.

Instead it has become my view that we do everything possible to make the teaching of the Church of the "earliest bishops and Catholic fathers and the first General Councils" that known and believed by all who call themselves Anglican. And it is for that reason that i believe that much of these articles should be published and put in the hands of our priests and even some of our bishops. It is also the reason that I believe that we should seek the highest standards of teaching, knowing and understanding that faith. If we truly attempt to do that we need not fear the misunderstandings, even deliberate, of others.

Marker1662 said...

Thank you so much for these discussions about "root theory". They are very helpful and directly relevant to many questions I spend a good deal of time thinking about. This is a first time post for me, but I've been reading The Continuum for quite a while. Thanks again.

poetreader said...

Actually, Father my concern isn't with what use the Roman and Orthodox churches make of the word Protestant, but with the use it gets by those commonly called Protestant, and by many Anglicans in attempting to lump us in with the amorphous general Protestant phenomenon bound together by not much more than its rejection of Catholic heritage. For all the positive meaning the word once bore. The word was clear in Hooker's day, but, with his concern for clarity of language, O doubt if he'd want to be called Protestant today. Reformed Catholic would seem to say just what he was saying quite adequately today, or the locution unfortunately owned by one jurisdiction: Anglican Catholic. We aren't Roman, but neither are we Protestant in any of the modern senses of the word. But enough of arguing over words -- the concepts being discussed by Fr. Hart are both clear and basic.


Canon Tallis said...

Ed, you are exactly right in that the concepts are both "clear and basic," but we have only words to convey them and to make our own understanding clear. What we must face and say with the greatest charity possible to our non-catholic friends is that in our understanding they are also not "Protestants" in that they are not testifying for the faith of Holy Scripture as interpreted by the fathers, the three creeds and the General Councils. Indeed, in speaking to them and off they I frequently feel like Elizabeth I in attempting to deal with Archbishop Parker's wife. I don't really know what to call them as I frequently think and feel that they are becoming less and less consciously Christian and I would like to be as respectful as possible while not betraying the Truth as we have be taught and come to understand it. Suggestions gratefully accepted.

On the other hand I refuse to accept or believe that we have lost the war over terminology unless or until we surrender and I, for one, am entirely unwilling to do so. I was in St Julian's in Norfolk when another gentleman in clericals asked me, "Catholic or Anglican?" I replied that i was 'Catholic' but not a papist. To my shock he turned out to be an Anglican but of the Novus Ordo persuasion. There was an Anglican nun in the shrine at the same time and as we were leaving, she whispered to me "Where is Cramner when we need him?"

We deal with words because all that we know was created by them from the "Fiat lux" of Genesis to the "Verbum" of St John's gospel. We have been given nothing else unless we become one of those favoured individuals such as St. Thomas Acquinas to whom all that he had written had become as straw fit only for burning. I certainly am not there yet and don't expect to be.

The person who made the suggestion that "Protestant" was not in the Anglican Formularies reminds me very much of the like complaint that Athanasias's word that banished Arianism was not in the New Testament. It didn't matter; it was the right and necessary word. And so is this one.

We must stop letting other define us. To do so is weakness and unnecessary especially if we read the Anglican Fathers as well as those of the first five centuries and use them as our via to understanding and obeying Holy Scripture.

Anonymous said...

FWIW Protestant has been used in the Coronation Oath taken by English monarchs since 1689

"Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the laws of God, the true profession of the gospel and the Protestant reformed religion established by law, and will you preserve unto the bishops and clergy of this Realm, and to the churches committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges as by law do or shall appertain unto them, or any of them?"

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The issue is not whether or not we like the "P" word, but that it is no use trying to blot it out. Best to answer our critics by confounding their smugness, and that is best achieved by letting them know that they haven't a clue about the meaning of words they throw around.

Canon Tallis said...

But the coronation oath is a formulary of the state and not of the Church. The oath, in the words quoted, was devised for James II who had become a papist and whom parliament knew was attempt to misconstrue the words of the ancient oath. In short, he was dishonest and proved himself to be which resulted in what I call "The IN-Glorious Revolution" as Mary's husband William was a devout Calvinist who did great damage to the Church, especially in Scotland.

Father Hart, Bravo! A standing ovation!

Mark said...

From the Roman Catholic/Papist/Traditionalist perspective:

An interesting, if somewhat esoteric (in my thoroughly Papist ears) discourse on the meaning of the "P" word.

By the way, I'm about a third of the way thru the "Atheist Delusions" by David Bentley Hart. I wholeheartedly recommend this book, especially to those in college.

Thank you, Father Hart, for mentioning this excellent book.

Anonymous said...

Fr. Hart,

I think ye use me as a straw man.

I asked the question, not as an AC but purely on the face of today’s vernacular.

In regards to the "P" word being within the BCP and not upon it. In my wee little mind my stating the simple fact supports your position that to be Protestant and Catholic is no contradiction, as "Protestants" wrote the book and identified themselves as Catholic at every Office. They also never described themselves as "Protestant" other than in a preface or cover page indirectly- that speaks to a mindset.

I do admit a mischievousness to see the reaction of the Neo-Puritan to the challenge. I have found it a convenient way of putting them into vapor lock just because I weary of the argument.

While I completely agree with your assessment with regard to the older definition, fact is the language has changed and we live now not then; people tend to see this word in a modern light and unless qualified the modern definition is normative.
Websters: "a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth;"

When you say "Protestant" you are using a different word than likely 99.9% of Protestants.
When I pose my "it's not in there' challenge I merely address those folk in their own vernacular against their understanding not yours or mine. It may not be precise but it is the reality.

In that sense, I am correct, as a reformed Catholic/Protestant is certainly not an Evangelical in the modern sense, nor a Baptist, etc. "Protestant" to these folks generally means a connection to Calvin and Zwingly and the Anabaptists as far as I can determine from conversing with friends from these churches on various topics. Many also believe, generally, that the Church started not in the 1st century but at the Reformation or much later depending on the denomination or ‘non’ denomination!

In fact, to them, every single one I have had discussion with over the years, it means "Protesting Catholicism" the Roman variety of course; because the RCC didn't then and still do not teach the Bible and RC's are "ignorant of the Gospel" (their words not mine).

When you attempt to explain that Catholic does not necessarily mean Roman they generally just look at you funny.

John Henry
ps the word verification to post my comments is "barking"
funny that...

Fr. Robert Hart said...

In my wee little mind my stating the simple fact supports your position that to be Protestant and Catholic is no contradiction, as "Protestants" wrote the book and identified themselves as Catholic at every Office.

Our wee minds agree on that.

While I completely agree with your assessment with regard to the older definition, fact is the language has changed and we live now not then; people tend to see this word in a modern light and unless qualified the modern definition is normative.

Well, the point is they are going to use it, and they are going to use it when speaking of Anglicans, period. So, let's consider it an opportunity to teach any who will listen. In general the word "Protestant" has come to mean so many things that it has come to mean nothing in particular-except for when it does mean something in particular. When it is used to speak of Anglicanism, then it becomes particular, and then it is up to us to insist on a definition in keeping with our Catholic patrimony.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

The following was submitted by one Hugh McCann, and is acceptable only in a discussion format. That is because his questions (always as to whether we on The Continuum agree with him) require an explanation (the answer is consistently "no"), for his benefit and that of others. His words will be in italics.

You write, "Accept the English Reformers for what ... You write, "Accept the English Reformers for what they were, and learn why their doctrines were perfectly acceptable in true Catholic terms, true Catholic terms that are older than the distortions of doctrine in Roman innovations and errors."

This begs some questions:

Do you mean the 16th Century Reformers, only those then martyred, or...?

What of Cranmer and Co.'s disdain for the pope and his "church"?

No, I do not mean only those then martyred. Frankly, the work went on in men Like Andrewes and Laud (though the latter was martyred).

A lot of water's gone under the bridge since the 1550's, and Rome has not reformed, but rather she has hardened and become more grotesque in her apostasy. Agreed?

No, They have come closer to us in some ways over the last century, rather, since John XXIII in the 1960s. Of course adding unorthodox "dogmas" before that had been most unhelpful.

Later men in the stream of reformed theology (the Dutch Calvinists, the Westminster Presbyterians, the Congregationalists, Puritans, and the best Baptists) all followed Cranmer & Co. in seeing he pope as the (or at least AN) antichrist.

Impossible. However bad they got, they never denied that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. Therefore, they were never Antichrist (see I John chapter 4). They always confessed the Incarnation.

I concur of course that those who pope from Anglicanism are wrongly allowing Rome to define the terms. But they are also implicitly trusting that Rome is a valid church. The early reformers may have also done so at the start, but in being burned for opposing her, they proved her unfaithful to Christ. Later reformers have seen she is incorrigible.

They proved the men who ruled the Church of Rome to be, in that time, godless and unfaithful, in fact, murderers. But, incorrigible? That is a judgment we dare not make about anyone ever. Obviously, they have much to clean up before anyone should trust them with pastoral responsibility (the clergy sex abuse scandal is not entirely cleaned up yet).

The Anglican position, even in the ugly time of the 16th century, was expressed by Richard Hooker. It was very advanced ecumenical thinking for the time; and frankly, it still holds even though in ways different than at that time. Therefore, you may find this to be of interest.

RC Cola said...

They have come closer to us in some ways over the last century, rather, since John XXIII in the 1960s.

But let's not make the mistake of imagining that the "official Rome" has any inclination to like, or even sympathize with, Continuing Anglicans. Kasper, et al., who would normally bend over backwards for Anglicans flat out HATE continuing Anglicans. We are seen as reactionaries, counter-revolutionaries who must be crushed on the way to the complete dissolution of the Catholic Faith from within.
Why has the TAC not been accepted into the RCC despite its constant and continual attempts to be accepted? Because the RCC leadership does not want more Traditionalists in the Church. The RCC wants Canterbury to come back to Rome because then the RCC radicals will have a nice supply of other radicals ready, willing and able (and with a proven track record) of destroying individual's faith and the dismantling the Church from within. Also, Canterbury has loads nice real estate, which we don't have. (And are therefore deemed worthless.)

Neo-cons, too, are not our friends. As one former classmate said, "Oh, you're going over to the Anglicans so you can have the 'Real Absence' of Christ."

Sorry, I know this is not exactly on-topic, but I just had to get it off my chest.

Hugh McCann said...


I guess we come at history, Romanism, and theology from such disparate POVs that we cannot do more than agree to disagree. Hopefully, we can at least do that respectfully.

Yours for Reformed Truth,

Hugh McCann

Mark said...

From the Roman Catholic/Papist/Traditionalist perspective:

A very perceptive post, RC Cola.

Out of curiosity, from your Continuing Anglican perspective, how would you characterize the various camps within the RC Church?

RC Cola said...

I'm a former RC Trad, so this is not a real/pure AC perspective. Here it goes:

Nutty Traditionalist: Sedevacantists, and those who take Fr. Feeney's strict interpretation of "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" at face value. They are not friends to the Continuum...nor anyone else for that matter.

Traditionalists: SSPX, FSSP, etc. Politics makes strange bedfellows. Can't understand why Continuing Anglicans won't cross the Tiber, but see Continuers as allies in the culture wars. But generally too busy fighting among themselves and worrying if they are going to get crushed by the leadership apparatus to worry about us.

Neo-conservatives/neo-orthodox: EWTN, Christendom College, Archdiocese of New York, etc. "Anglicans? Look good, should be Roman, have the Real Absence, we'll talk if they give up the BCP and accept the Novus Ordo." Involved in preserving the status quo since 1970; enjoy crapping on Traditionalists and following liberal trends ten years too late; busy doing intellectual contortions to justify hatred of everything prior to 1970 while at the same time proving that they are the true passers-on of Tradition.

Mainstream: Average RC in the pew. Mindset could be summed up by Sergeant Schultz's saying, "I know nothing!" As long as the priest shows up, is nice, and wears pretty vestments on big holidays, all is well. Liberal without even knowing it or knowing why. Positive side: They would be very friendly toward Continuing Anglicans but only because they are friendly to everyone, including Wiccans. Toleration above all virtues.

The Bishops: The second most liberal of all groups in the U.S. and Europe with some individuals fitting into other categories. Their job is to lie and deceive everyone around them. Still covering up sex scandals yet pretending they acted to solve the problem. What's my opinion of RC bishops? They are the reason I left the RCC. They treat their flocks with such impunity that makes me think their "valid" orders are those passed down through the lineage of Judas Iscariot. Think of Roger Mahoney of LA or Rembert Weakland formerly of Milwaukee. They do not like us because we represent to them an Anglican version of Traditionalists. They have dedicated their lives to dismantling Tradition (and small-t traditions) that the ACC, APCK, TAC are seen as sworn enemies. Cardinal Kasper falls into this group.

Finally, the Hell-bent Heretics. These folks are fans of the TEO (to use Canon Tallis's witty designation). The goal is to de-Christianize Christianity. God the Father is a construct of a misogynist patriarchal society, etc. etc. Groups such as We Are Church, those for women's ordination, Sr. Joan Chittester, Diocese of Phoenix under O'Brien, Sojouners magazine, 99% of Catholic college theology departments. Essentially Marxian dialectical materialism half-heartedly using Christian terminology to serve Satan.

RC Cola said...

PART II -- This is where my ranting and raving gets really good!

TAC would like to get a sui juris Church and be considered as one of the other 22 eastern Catholic Churches that recognize the papal claims. Most, but not all of those 22 have Orthodox counterparts. This would irk RCC traditionalists who are trying to get their own structure so that they are not at the mercy of bishops who hate them.

One problem I have with the Anglican Parishes that moved to Rome a decade or two ago is that the BCP was adjusted and the very clunky-clumsy words of the modern Roman Canon replaced Cranmer's words. The goal of the bishops has been to accept these parishes and hope that over time they can be "mainstreamed." That is, come to accept the Novus Ordo Missae. This si the same thing many bishops hope to do with RCC Traditionalists... move them from the Tridentine Mass to a Latin Novus Ordo to an English-Latin Novus Ordo, to a full English Novus Ordo.

It looks as if Vatican II was good for Anglican-Roman relations, but the authoritarianism of the upper-middle management is worse than ever. Since they no longer have a decent theology or ecclesiology they have to rely on sheer power. And since the liberals leading the RC Church want the Novus Ordo implemented without dissent, they will crush any and all comers who do not use it. This includes any Anglicans who may make the mistake of thinking that their liturgical traditions will be left intact.

Even Pius V had the courtesy to leave rites older than 200 years untouched. Had the Hereford, Exeter uses and the Sarum Rite still been in active use at the time of Trent, they would have survived the cut. It doesn't matter who or what was in active use at the time of the Novus Ordo...all Rites must be sacrificed to the New.

I also find Anglicans who think that the Novus Ordo and post-Vatican II theology to be an improvement absurd. The new rite and the proponents of the new theology are not our friends. They will have us destroyed in order to guarantee that the Novus Ordo, and its future dumbings down will be the only rite we can attend. The new theology will not look favorably upon Hooker, Laud or any Anglican divines. Anything before Ed Schillebicx (sic), Hans Kung, Charlie Curran, Josef Fuchs, etc. etc., must be thrown down the memory hole. The revolution must be made complete. Anglican Catholics are only an obsticle to that goal.

Canon Tallis said...

Having just finished reading Damian Thompson's Telegraph blog on why JPII should not be canonized plus absolutely everyone of the comments, I have to tip my square cap if not my galero to RC Cola for getting it so exactly right. Mark, you would do well to read the blog, but it would not be good for your soul. Go read Scripture instead.

Two thing, however were very interesting. One was a quote from the writer whose work initiated Thompson's reaction and I cannot resist the temptation to quote him. "We Catholics are so quick to criticize Anglicans for all the heterodoxy they tolerate among their ranks. With all respect, I believe it’s time we took the plank out of our own eyes before removing the speck from those of others. Let’s not hold God’s Vicar to a lesser standard than Rowan Williams." He also admitted that while in England he had attended "Anglican Evensong nearly every weekday evening and found it spellbinding."

But the other quote, a reaction to a very nice comment by a British parson, was the standard Roman condemnation of the English Reformation and all its works just in case some of us had come to believe that all that lay behind them.

Very good work, RC! Bravo!

Mark said...

From the Roman Catholic/Papist/Traditionalist perspective:

RC Cola:

Thoroughly enjoyed your listing of the various RC groups - I tend to see a similar picture. Also, while discussing this subject, I think humor definitely helps. Here is my take on this situation within the RC Church in our country:

Progressives – no introductions are necessary;

Conservatives – they attend the Novus Ordo Mass and complain about the abuses of this rite. They prefer private devotions, and usually don’t join the various parish councils where many decisions affecting them are made by the Progressives;

Traditionalists – we dwell in small ghettos where we celebrate the TLM with the help of the FSSP. We also procreate with a capital “P”, and memorize the Baltimore Catechism. (I would exclude the SSPX here, since they are not in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Feeneyites, Locutionists, and Sedevacantists, likewise, are small and strange flowers difficult to classify as “Traditionalists”);

Others – As you said, they prefer to know nothing, but sometimes unwittingly function as stooges of the Progressives. There is also a subgroup here that we see only at Christmas and/or Easter.

On a more serious note, since the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” was promulgated in 2007, the entire progressive establishment has been put on the defensive. There is a growing realization among many that the forced separation between the Conservatives and the Traditionalists must end, so that the Ordinary and the Extraordinary Forms can coexist within the same parish setting. Also, many more Bishops (at least eighty) seem to be waking from their slumber, as the recent events at Notre Dame showed. Finally, the demographic situation is not exactly favoring the Progressives.

I trust that the Higher Power, as in the past, will guide us out of this mess.

Mark said...

Cannon Tallis:

I’ve read Mr. Thompson’s comments on Eric Giaunta’s article protesting the efforts to canonize Pope John Paul II, and also Eric’s article itself.

My view is that any canonization should take time (minimum of several decades), and that the devil’s advocate should be afforded every opportunity to make his or her case.

This issue seems to revolve around Pope's John Paul II treatment of the progressive side of the Church, with the charge being that he was too lenient. However, rather than pontificate on this issue, let’s hear Pope John Paul II address this charge in his own words:

”The pastoral role surely includes the reproof. I think that in this area I probably did too little. There always exists a tension between ruling and serving. Maybe I should reproach myself that I did not try to rule enough. Yet, this seems to flow out of my inclinations. Somehow, it must also be related to the will of Christ, who asked His Apostles not so much to rule, as to serve”

(From Pope’s John Paul II book “Arise, let us go”, translation mine)