I have been asked to explain further the ‘deep or wide’ anecdote about Anglo Catholics.
I really did not mean to offend, and sincerely apologize if the comment caused offense.
What I meant was this: that the external differences between Anglo Catholicism and Catholicism present a rather narrow gap. Indeed, the theological and liturgical differences also present a fairly narrow gap (at least between Catholics and what we might call ‘historic’ or orthodox Anglo Catholics)
However, the chasm between us is deep. I say it is ‘deep’ because it is deep down and hidden. It is written into the genetic code of Anglicanism and Catholicism. Because it is so deep down I find it hard to articulate, and if I do recognize this it is not meant to be a criticism of Anglicanism per se.
I am observing this subjectively, and yet I think dispassionately. The deep down differences have to do with how Catholics understand themselves, and Christ and history and the Church and (it must be said) their ethnicity. This is very different from the way Anglicans (and this includes Anglo Catholics as a subset) understand themselves and Christ and history and the Church and their ethnicity.
As a convert I am still gazing deeply into this crevasse and trying to understand. It is all tied up with (among other things) Irishness and Italian-ness and Spanish-ness and Hispanic-ness. It is linked with the absurdity and radical nature of Catholic sanctity and saints. Deep down it is about the depth and strangeness of Catholic spirituality and sacramentality. It has to do with antiquity and universality and infallibility and being part of a supernaturally subversive world order within the realm of history. Somehow Catholicism is a product of the ancient world of paganism and Judaism and the Middle East and Rome whereas Anglicanism in all its forms, (and Anglo Catholicism, for all it’s virtues, is simply another expression of Anglicanism) is a product of Protestantism and Rationalism and Northern Europe and the sixteenth century.
It has to do with depths I can’t explain, but which I know are there operating within myself and within the cosmos–depths that I never sensed in Anglicanism, depths which my experience in Anglicanism prepared me for, but which I did not find there except in part.
Again, I do not say this with any sense of animosity or blame. I am simply reflecting my own experience and say that it feels like I have moved from the entrance hall into a vast and ancient country mansion, from a tributary into a mighty river that is bearing me to the endless sea.