Three Anglicanisms — Ad Orientem

There are now, in truth, three Anglicanisms: These are, (1) the First Millennium Consensus, or Anglo-Catholicism, now mostly found in Continuing Churches, (2) Liberalism, now found in the Lambeth Canterbury Communion, and (3) Evangelicalism, mostly found in those bodies adhering to GAFCON. The Elizabethan Settlement has for all practical purposes collapsed and has ceased to […]

via Three Anglicanisms — Ad Orientem

They Used to Say Same Thing About the Anglican/Episcopal Blogosphere, Too

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin unloads on his own church’s social media movement/blogosphere:

Catholic keyboard warriors who “spend all day attacking and responding” on social media in the belief that they are “defending the integrity of Church teaching” have been sharply criticised by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin.

For those of us who have been at this in the Anglican/Episcopal world, this sure sounds familiar.  Before social media there was the blogosphere, with people such as Kendall Harmon, David Virtue, Standfirm (Greg Griffith/Matt Kennedy/Sarah Hey,) Alan Haley and so many others, including of course Mary “BabyBlue” Ailes, now of blessed memory.  Since social media many of these have migrated there, but it’s been rough: Matt Kennedy got kicked off of Twitter by Jessica Yaniv, who just lost the waxing case.  And I’m seeing a mini-resurgence in the blogosphere, given the uncertainties in social media.

We on the conservative side (and we outnumbered the liberals by a healthy margin) were criticised as divisive, hateful, mean, bigoted, homophobic…you get the idea.  And we’re seeing the same thing said about Catholic social media/sites, which have got the Archbishop’s dander up.

But the real fear among the RCC’s own “reapprisers” (to use Kendall Harmon’s term) is that all of this intensely offensive stuff actually works.  We wouldn’t have the ACNA, warts and all, if it weren’t for the internet and those who inhabited it.  We wouldn’t probably have GAFCON either.  In the 1970’s opponents of the changes taking place in the Episcopal Church were marginalized before they could get off the ground; Continuing Anglicanism was hardly a blip on 815’s radar screen, and the Charismatic Renewal ended up filling Pentecostal and Charismatic churches outside of the Anglican world.

With the Catholic Church’s more centralized structure, and the obsession of the Trads with the authority of Peter’s see, seeing a path to progress is more difficult.  But one never knows.  The Anglican Revolt was the great story of American Christianity in the last decade; who knows what might come this time.  Perhaps the Amazonian idols won’t be the only things thrown into the Tiber.

The “unEnglish and Unmanly” Part of (now) St. John Henry Newman

With the canonisation of Anglicanism’s most famous convert to Roman Catholicism, there’s been a dust-up about Newman’s sexual orientation, especially by the dreadful James Martin, SJ (whose own mendacity about his own celibacy helped get him into the Society of Jesus.)

A long time ago this site posted an academic paper by David Hilliard about homosexuality and Anglo-Catholicism.  It is, IMHO, one of the most interesting monographs written on Anglicanism in general and this topic in particular.  Some of his own take on the subject, long before the stink surrounding the canonisation, is here:

This homoerotic motivation was strongly hinted at in the 1890s by James Rigg, a Wesleyan historian of the Oxford Movement, who made much of the “characteristically feminine” mind and temperament of Newman and the lack of virility of most of his disciples. The idea was developed and popularised by Geoffrey Faber in his classic Oxford Apostles (1933). His portrait of Newman as a sublimated homosexual (though the word itself was not used) has since been a source of embarrassment to those biographers and theologians who seek to present him as a “Saint for Our Time.”

Faber’s argument was brilliant but open to attack. Meriol Trevor, in her two-volume biography of Newman, undermined some of his illustrations, as when she pointed out, for example, that Wilfred Ward had given no source for the often-quoted statement that Newman lay all night on Ambrose St. John’s bed after the death of his inseparable friend, and that in view of other known events of that night the incident could hardly have occurred. Of the intensity of their relationship, however, there can be no doubt. On his death in 1890 Newman was buried at his own wish in the same grave as St. John.

I would suggest that my readers download and digest the entire paper; it’s worth the time.  Hilliard points out something else that people like Martin (and probably Francis himself) conveniently ignore:

Until the late nineteenth century homosexuality was socially defined in terms of certain forbidden sexual acts, such as “buggery” or “sodomy.  Homosexual behaviour was regarded as a product of male lust, potential in anyone unless it was severely condemned and punished. In England homosexuality had been covered by the criminal law since 1533 when the state took over the responsibility for dealing with the offence from the ecclesiastical courts. The last executions for buggery took place in the 1830s, but it was not until 1861 that the death penalty was abolished. In the 1880s and 1890s—at the same time that the word homosexuality entered the English language, largely through the work of Havelock Ellis—social attitudes towards homosexuality underwent a major change. From being defined in terms of sinful behaviour, homosexuality came to be regarded as a characteristic of a particular type of person. Because homosexuality was seen as a condition, homosexuals were therefore a species, which it became the object of the social sciences to explore and explain. The principal vehicles of this redefinition were legal and medical. Homosexual behaviour became subject to increased legal penalties, notably by the Labouchère Amendment of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885. which extended the law to cover all male homosexual acts, whether committed in public or private. This in turn led to a series of sensational scandals, culminating in the three trials of Oscar Wilde in 1895. The harsher legal sanctions were accompanied over a longer period by an important change in the
conceptualisation of homosexuality: the emergence of the idea that homosexuality was a disease or sickness which required treatment. The various reasons for this change in definition are beyond the scope of this essay. The result, however, was that the late nineteenth century saw homosexuality acquire new labelling, in the context of a social climate that was more hostile than before.  The tightening of the law and the widespread acceptance by opinion-makers of the “medical model” of homosexuality produced conditions within which men with homosexual feelings began to develop a conscious collective identity.

This transformation is why we have an LGBT “community” today, and that it’s a part of a person’s identity.

Baby Blue: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

She is indeed:

Mary Ailes died today. She was one of the pioneers of Anglican blogging who was in the thick of things from Truro in Virginia, in the early days of CANA. To me it feels like yesterday but it is quickly fading into the past. I met her in person once and she was a kind soul. I am thankful for her work in proving that blogs could be a great source of news, something that we have gone backwards on I fear.

She was one of the best in the Anglican/Episcopal world and one of the most enduring–and endearing.  She spent her last years fighting cancer.

She was also a die-hard Bob Dylan fan, so it’s not inappropriate to say that she’s “knock, knock, knockin’ on heaven’s door…”

The Prayer of Humble Access — Anglican Pastor

The Prayer of Humble Access is a traditional part of the Anglican service of Holy Communion. I recently found out how beloved the Prayer of Humble Access is to so many Anglicans when I posted about it on Twitter. I posted what I thought was a slightly humorous tweet poll which indicated some questions I…

via The Prayer of Humble Access — Anglican Pastor

The Persecution of Christians is Nothing New

Another interesting passage from Trevor Gervase Jalland’s The Church and the Papacy:

It is, of course,unnecessary to point out that the Roman Catholic Communion as it is to-day, and possibly as it has been from the beginning, is bound up with the belief that the Roman see, as the see of St. Peter the Apostle and of his successors, exists de iure divino. Do these words mean then that ‘ultimately’ some belief in the divine origin of the Papacy must be accepted by all, if such a scheme of Reunion is to become practicable as may be held to be in accordance with the will of God ? Conceivably not. Yet what is the alternative ? Apparently the idea that when the ‘great Latin Church of the West’ has ‘ultimately’ rid itself of the incubus of papal authority, it will become a suitable partner in a co-operative society of Christians. Perhaps we can only suppose that the real implications of this remarkable statement have never been fully thought out. Yet never has the need for such consideration been greater than at the present time. Not only is Christianity in many countries faced with active hostility, if not with actual persecution, but surely it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that at the present moment its very principles are at stake. Can we afford therefore to neglect any longer the paramount need for a united Christian front against that alliance of the forces of secularism which unhappily finds its supporters not only on the side of our most determined political enemies, but even among those whom we count our staunchest and most loyal friends? Dare we neglect to explore afresh the differences which exist between Christians, particularly those which divide the ‘historic churches’ of Christendom?

It’s amazing that the statement in italics (emphasis mine) came from 1942, given the concept these days that Christianity has never been persecuted as much as it is today.  At that time the faith’s main antagonists were Stalin and Hitler, although Catholicism in particular has gone through nasty attacks in places such as France, Mexico and Spain.

It’s also interesting to hear him say that, for the church, “at the present moment its very principles are at stake.”  The difference between then and now is that now the leadership of the historical churches have sold the pass the way they have, although such has been predictable for a long time.

The desire for unity in Christianity is something Our Lord expressed before he went to the Cross.  The problem always has been putting the unity and the principles together.  The way things are going, I think it’s more important to find the unity with those who hold to the principles rather than waiting for those who formally hold the “seat of honour” to come around.

Richard Hooker on the Incarnation — Ad Orientem

To Christ we ascribe both working of wonders and suffering of pains, we use concerning him speeches as well of humility as of divine glory, but the one we apply unto that nature which he took of the Virgin Mary, the other to that which was in the beginning. (V, 53, i) If therefore it […]

via Richard Hooker on the Incarnation — Ad Orientem

The Polyepiscopacy of the Early Church

An intriguing (and sensible) suggestion from Trevor Gervase Jalland’s The Church and the Papacy:

Though there are, as we believe, adequate grounds for rejecting the view that Clement formally identifies episcopi with presbyters, yet in the face of this evidence it appears equally impossible to deny that he refers to the episcopate in a way that suggests that it was held by more than one person in a single community. It may be pointed out further that we are bound to infer from Clement’s description that the function of the episcopate at this time was purely and solely liturgical. Thus it may well be that his frequent use of liturgical language, to which commentators on this document repeatedly call attention, is due to his deep sense of the outrage which has been committed by unjustly depriving ministers of the liturgy of their peculiar office.

If it be asked how this plurality of the episcopate arose, it is impossible to offer more than conjecture in reply. It is probable from the evidence in Acts, I Corinthians and Romans that the primitive basis of Christian liturgical organization was the ‘house church’, such as that of Prisca at Rome. It is equally probable on the same evidence that in large centres of population such as Rome and Corinth, more than one such ‘house church’ would be acquired at an early date by rapidly expanding community. Now when an Apostle was present, to him would properly belong the privilege of ‘Breaking Bread’, as in Acts XIX. But to whom would it be assigned in the Apostle’s absence? The natural inference from Clement, who evidently refers to established and recognized custom, is that it would be given to an episcopus, and thus a plurality of house churches would at first naturally lead to a plurality of episcopi. (p. 80)

Jalland goes on to describe how this polyepiscopate morphed into the “monoepiscopate” normative in Anglicanism (well, sort of,) Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.  But his concept solves many of the problems in sorting out the leadership offices described in the New Testament and shortly afterwards.

What Jalland is describing is what has come back as a kind of cell group system.  And, when I read this, I said to myself, “Score one for those in the Church of God who wanted to call the highest ministerial rank ‘bishop’ and not just those who supervise a region.”

Jalland also assumes that these bishops had liturgical duties from the beginning, and the whole idea of liturgical worship in the New Testament church is a complete freak-out for much of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity.

Book Review: Herbert Mortimer Luckock’s Studies in the History of the Book of Common Prayer

For some reason, I’ve suddenly become the defender of things and people Anglo-Catholic.  I’ve always been ambivalent about Anglo-Catholicism, from the “unEnglish and unmanly” aspect to their implicit lack of confidence in their own sacraments.   I think what’s changed is the fact that I find myself locking horns with Reformed types both inside and outside of the Anglican/Episcopal world.  They’re like George W. Bush: you’re either with them or against them, and there’s no middle ground.  (They are having their problems these days…)

So it was with anticipation that I took up the reading of another Anglo-Catholic classic: Herbert Mortimer Luckock’s Studies in the History of the Book of Common Prayer.   I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a book of his before and this one was a delight as well, well written as the other.  It’s main focus is the history of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England from the Act of Supremacy until the 1662 Book of Common Prayer was issued in the wake of the demise of the Commonwealth.  The facts (and certainly the prayer books issued during the period) are generally not in dispute; their meaning certainly is, and Luckock definitely has a point of view that needs to be heard.

Luckock actually starts with the beginning of Christianity in Britain, and then its reintroduction with Augustine of Canterbury’s mission.  Same Augustine found the use of Gallican liturgies on the island, and he wrote to his superior, Pope Gregory I, asking permission to suppress these liturgies in favour of the Roman Rite.  He got a smack-down from the Pope, who wasn’t as zealous for the Roman way as Augustine was.  Eventually the Roman liturgy was adopted in Britain, but variations persisted right up to the time of the English Reformation.

The main result of Henry VIII’s takeover of the English church was the dissolution of the monasteries and the transfer of the headship of the church to himself; it was decidedly conservative, and even extended to the prohibition of the Bible in English, as Tyndale found out the hard way.  The need for reform was strongly felt, and with Henry VIII’s death in 1547, the way was cleared for that to take place.  A committee of revision was appointed (whose members had a spectrum of views,) the existing multiple service books inherited from Roman times condensed and simplified into one book, and, with both the need for reform and the desire for continuity in mind, in 1549 the first Book of Common Prayer was set forth to the Anglican world, with an Act of Uniformity to insure that it was followed.

That promulgation was not without controversy.  The most serious blow back came from (surprise!) a Celtic part of Britain, namely Cornwall.  In a reaction that would make Grady McWhiney proud, the Cornish decided that they wanted to start a Jihad like the Muslims did!  Part of the problem was that, in the committee’s zeal to produce a liturgy in a language the people understood, they overlooked the fact that the Cornish understood neither the old Latin nor the new English!  There were also controversies about the redistribution of the seized monastic properties, most of which went to noblemen and other already powerful people.  The English put the rebellion down in typically brutal fashion, which (here and elsewhere) helped accelerate the massive emigration the British Isles experienced over the next several centuries, filling up two continents with people who wanted or had to leave.

The 1549 Book should have put an end to the matter, but at this point the critical moment came in Anglican history.  That critical moment was encouraged by the three troublemakers from the Continent: John à Lásco, Peter Martyr and Martin Bucer.  Along with their domestic allies of a Puritan idea, they centred their objections to the 1549 Book with several points of doctrine and practice.

The first is their advocacy of Bill Clinton’s Eucharistic Theology, which they embraced with varying degrees.  (The important thing about the Reformers is not only did they disagree with the Pope but with each other.)

The second is their horror of the prayers for the dead, which they believed perpetuated the doctrine of Purgatory.

The third was their dislike of the use of vestments in worship, which they thought were worldly.  That dislike extended to academic regalia, and the connection between the two is an interesting side note in the history of both academia and Anglicanism.

There were other points but the main result was that there was a push to revise the prayer book with the ink on the first one barely dry, and the result was the 1552 Book of Common Prayer.  Luckock is not entirely negative on the changes but is obviously not pleased either.  He notes the immense impact that the Continental troublemakers had on Cranmer’s mind (as do his Reformed counterparts.)  With the brutal interlude of “Bloody Mary” this book, with a few further revisions, became the cornerstone of the Elizabethan Settlement, which brought a relative peace to the Church of England for the rest of the sixteenth century.

The unravelling of that peace, which lead to the English Civil War and the Commonwealth, is something that Luckock surprisingly skips over.  That’s unfortunately; it’s a good example of how Anglicanism and the move of the politics and culture of the time were locked with each other, as they have been of late.  But there’s a lesson to be learned.  Reformed Anglicans insist that the 1552 Book and its immediate successors are part of the proof that true Anglicanism is Reformed.  The core problem with that thesis from a historical point of view is that many of the Reformed Anglicans of the time (especially the Puritans) didn’t think that it was enough!  They were happy to dispense with liturgical worship altogether, something they basically managed to achieve under Oliver Cromwell.

That’s a good way to bring us to the last part of the book: the promulgation of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.  As was the case with the earlier Books, a conference was called.  Luckock admits that the Puritans/Presbyterians (the “discontents,” as Luckock delightfully refers to them) had the stronger position going into the conference, but they overplayed their hand,  ultimately setting forth a “Reformed Liturgy” which would have represented a sea change in Anglican worship.  Ultimately Parliament took the older Prayer Books and, with a few more revisions, made the 1662 Book the official Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, which it is (in theory at least) until this day.

One interesting feature of Luckock’s narrative are the extensive appendices, which include one on the Hampton Court Conference.  This one was the Puritans’ strongest attempt (unsuccessful at the moment) to move the Church’s worship in a more Reformed direction, but its most important result was the authorisation of what became the King James Bible.  He also discusses the “Scotch Liturgy” which, as noted elsewhere, became the ancestor of the “Whiskeypalians” own liturgy.

As always, Luckock puts forth a delightfully written narrative which is contrapuntal to a great deal of conventional wisdom in the Anglican/Episcopal world.  Herbert Mortimer Luckock’s Studies in the History of the Book of Common Prayer is an interesting narrative about a crucial part of Anglican history, and as such is commended.