Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Trip To England

I said I'd get around to it, so I am.

Before getting around to the specific events of the trip, I'm going to throw out an example of contrasting leadership styles so that we can have an adequate contrast.

Consider this entry by Fr. Z regarding Archlayman Rowan's steadfast commitment to nothing.

In an article in The Times published today, the contents of an interview with Archbp. Williams are exposed in advance of next month’s publication of a book entitled Shadow Gospel: Rowan Williams and the Anglican Communion Crisis. The Times provided some of an interview of Williams by Ginny Dougary.

Inter alia, Williams says (for the first time) that he has “no problem” with homosexuals being bishops, but gay clergy must be celibate. I think the writer meant “chaste”, since celibate means unmarried. When will people get this right?

Williams indicated his personal support for the consecration of homosexual bishops in the Church of England, but that he will never endorse homosexual clergy in active relationships because tradition and historical “standards” dictate that homosexual clergy must remain chaste. He won’t endorse priests and bishops in active homosexual relationship because “the cost to the Church overall was too great to be borne at that point”.

The moral dimension of such a controversy is completely bypassed. Rowan's best rationale for his view is talk of tradition and standards. This makes the episcopacy something along the lines of your average game of pick-up basketball. It's done that way just because it's worked for a while, and it's currently convenient to continue doing so. This isn't really leadership, so much as an attempt to straddle a rather significant fence by passing the buck for the status quo to dead people. Rowan, per usual, avoids reason and accountability and teachable moments.

I have to wonder what this "cost" to the Anglican Communion is that is so great. The Communion itself is basically already shattered, in large part due to this issue. Come on, Rowan. Could it really get any worse?

On to Pope Benedict. As we know, this visit was not without controversy. For example:

Police said some 125,000 people lined the streets to cheer the pope. Around 150 protesters also turned out, waving gay rainbow flags and banners saying "Pope opposition to condoms kills people" and "Stop protecting pedophile priests."

He told reporters it was not the mission of the Catholic Church to change with the times "to try to be more attractive," but to declare what it believed to be fundamental truths.

Note the difference. When faced with conflict, Rowan appeals to the some kind of weird historical Robert's Rules of Order. The Pope doesn't go there. Instead, we hear about truth and the inalterable nature of such truth, regardless of convenience.

On the subject of such truths, the Pope would later talk about how such truth is the foundation of ecumenism, per his address at Westminster:

Our commitment to Christian unity is born of nothing less than our faith in Christ, in this Christ, risen from the dead and seated at the right hand of the Father, who will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. It is the reality of Christ’s person, his saving work and above all the historical fact of his resurrection, which is the content of the apostolic kerygma and those credal formulas which, beginning in the New Testament itself, have guaranteed the integrity of its transmission. The Church’s unity, in a word, can never be other than a unity in the apostolic faith, in the faith entrusted to each new member of the Body of Christ during the rite of Baptism. It is this faith which unites us to the Lord, makes us sharers in his Holy Spirit, and thus, even now, sharers in the life of the Blessed Trinity, the model of the Church’s koinonia here below.

In otherwords, there is no unity without the Faith. The content of the Faith isn't what has become the standard of Anglicanism, which is basically the negation of dogma. It's what was handed down by the Apostles, and anybody who thinks that the Schori/Spong model of theology is apostolic should have their head examined.

And, of course, there's a further contrast between the Schori/Spong clan and that of Cardinal Newman, who was beatified by Pope Benedict himself during the trip:

Today’s Gospel tells us that no one can be the servant of two masters (cf. Lk 16:13), and Blessed John Henry’s teaching on prayer explains how the faithful Christian is definitively taken into the service of the one true Master, who alone has a claim to our unconditional devotion (cf. Mt 23:10). Newman helps us to understand what this means for our daily lives: he tells us that our divine Master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a "definite service", committed uniquely to every single person: "I have my mission", he wrote, "I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place … if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling" (Meditations and Devotions, 301-2).

No two masters for Cardinal Newman. He had to go where the Truth was. The historical standards of Anglicanism and the costs that he had to bear were of secondary consequence. Heart indeed speaks to heart, and the heart of Christ spoke to that of Cardinal Newman. He followed where the Kindly Light led him and didn't shy away when the Cross got heavy. I take a lot of digs at Anglicanism here, but let's face facts. There aren't many Catholics who qualify for such courage these days.

And let me add this, it is shameful that Cardinal Newman is still the subject of insults today. I expect it from Anglicans who consider him a traitor. I also expect it from liberal Catholics who basically think anyone who converts is somehow degrading themselves (*cough*Cardinal Kasper*cough*). What is ridiculous and embarrassing is to such commentary from Catholics who do take orthodoxy seriously and continue to cast aspersions on his character and faith. May God forgive such people for their calumny.

Anyways, maybe there are some Anglicans who are willing to take up that Cross and make the journey that Blessed John Henry Newman made.

Britain could have an Ordinariate by the end of the year, it emerged today.

Sources say that the Rt Rev Keith Newton, the flying Bishop of Richborough and the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, the flying Bishop of Ebbsfleet, will take up the special canonical structure, which allows groups of Anglicans to come into full Communion with Rome without losing their Anglican identity, before the end of the calendar year...

Traditionally-minded Anglican clergy from the South of England were gathering at a Sacred Synod in Westminster today to discuss the future direction of the Church of England. The meeting was called by the Rt Rev John Frank Ford, the Anglican Bishop of Plymouth. He invited the signatories of a 2008 open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, which expressed reservations over women bishops...

In a statement Bishop Burnham said that Anglicanorum coetibusoffered “Anglo-Catholics the way to full communion with the Catholic Church for which they worked and prayed for at least a century and it is a way in which they will be ‘united and not absorbed’.”

He said that discussions were under way about how the “vision of the Apostolic Constitution” could be implemented” and said the first people to take up the initiative would require vision and courage.

He quoted Pope Benedict’s speech to the bishops of England, Wales and Scotland, saying the Holy Father set his offer to Anglicans “firmly within the developing ecumenical dialogue” and said it was an “an exciting initiative for those for whom the vision of Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) of corporate union has shaped their thinking over recent years”.

The issue, he said, was “the ministry of the Pope himself, as the successor of St Peter. Anglicans who accept that ministry as it is presently exercised will want to respond warmly to the Apostolic Constitution”. He said: “Those who do not accept the ministry of the Pope or would want to see that ministry in different ways will not feel able to accept Anglicanorum Coetibus.”

Bishop Burnham added: “The decision to respond to the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution is not dependent on the decisions of the General Synod or on any particular issue of church order. The initiative should be judged on its own merit. It will require courage, and vision on the part of those who accept the invitation, particularly amongst the first to respond."

It will take all those things and more.

Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for them (and all the rest of us).

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