Am I allowed to yawn at this point? Here’s the news: Anglo Catholics are divided about what to do next? Errm, so what’s new? Some have vowed to ‘stay and defeat women bishops’. Uhh, not likely. Others will stay and ‘fight on’ even if women bishops are ordained. No surprises there then. Others will stay for ‘family reasons’ or ‘financial reasons’. What was that about ‘hating your mother and father and brother and sister for the sake of the gospel?’
Some readers think, because I converted from Anglicanism that I was Anglo Catholic. I never was. I was a happy Anglican who thought he had found C.S.Lewis’ Mere Christianity. I valued Catholic ways of praying and celebrating the liturgy, but I also valued the Evangelical preaching and love of Scripture, the Charismatic’s emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit and the Liberals’ emphasis on peace and justice. My motto has always been, “A man is most often right in what he affirms and wrong in what he denies.”
I’ve certainly respected many of the Anglo Catholics I worked with. I liked their scholarship, their devotion to the faith and their tradition of going to the tough parishes to do God’s work. I liked their sense of theater, their sense of humor and their self deprecation. I liked their feisty spirit and their jaunty warrior spirit. However, I never really bought into their ‘church within a church’ mentality. I thought their ‘Catholicism’ too often to be ostentatious, overly aesthetic and precious. I disliked the effeminate subculture that too often went with Anglo Catholicism, and I disliked the self inflicted blinders they wore when it came to the Catholic Church. I never joined their confraternities and sodalities or went on their pilgrimages and retreats, and if I had tried to join I would probably not have been welcome.
Therefore, my emotions about Anglo Catholics are mixed. There are so many good folks still in that sub set of Christianity, and I like them and pray for them and hope they can come home to Rome and bring their greatest treasures with them. However, I feel impatient and sorry for those who still quiver and dither and wring their hands over the whole sad state of the Church of England.
Yes, yes, it’s sad to see where the Church of England is going, but my advice is to pull up your socks, bite your lip, have a stiff drink and swim the Tiber.