What are the Catholics thinking?

Really? Opening up the communion to the Anglican church? Opening the doors for the disgruntled minority to have a safe haven? And really Rowan, not a statement?

I have to admit, I am a little nervous about the recent moves by the Catholic church to open its doors to the disgruntled conservative minority in the Anglican communion. The move feels much like an enabling of a schism which will have enormous implications for many Anglicans and Episcopalians who sense that schism is genuinely not a part of our ethos.

What is worse, is that I for one am unsure if this simply means that it is inevitable that the Anglican communion will split. And if it does, what will that mean for how this church has defined itself for so man generations? Does it mean that lex orandi lex credendi changes? Does it mean that we have given up on the via media?

At the end of the day, I am not for the pain that the conservative minority is creating for many of my friends, neighbors, and colleagues. But we have ever been a group which has been able to hold these differences in tension. Why now, in the postmodern era are we least able to do this? Ironic?

Hopeful, and disappointed-


One thought on “What are the Catholics thinking?

  1. Perhaps a few points worth noting:

    1. Those disgruntled and those considering Rome are two different groups. The disgruntled are actually a majority, perhaps even an overwhelming majority, of the Anglican Communion (pretty much everyone except the ECUSA and some in CofE). To wit, the 2008 GAFCON meeting comprised bishops responsible for a majority of the world’s Anglicans. Those considering Rome are a small subset of that larger group.

    2. People are disgruntled because the ECUSA has been heedless of where the rest of the Communion stands and has been heading off in its own reckless direction for 30 years — a direction which is not only wrong in principle, but leads to hollowed-out theology and empty churches. The typical Episcopalian church today is a beautiful building with a handful of people in the pews on Sunday.

    3. You can’t really blame the Catholics. They think theirs is the one, true Church. It makes sense for anyone who thinks that to court “separated brethren” actively.

    4. I think it’s likely the Anglican Communion will split, but it won’t be an even split. If a split happens, the ECUSA and maybe the CofE would take most of the money and worldly power, and the rest of the Communion would retain most of the people, the 39 Articles, and the rich tradition of liturgy. It won’t, I suspect, be a difficult choice for anyone on either side.

    5. The pain is being created not by conservatives, but by those, mostly in our country, who lack the humility and prudence to see that the rest of the world is not with them — at least not yet — and to submit to the voices of the primates, archbishops, and bishops, as well as (of course) two millenia of Christian tradition. As witness to that fact, His Grace (Rowan) practically begged the ECUSA not to do or say anything controversial at this year’s meeting. And how did the ECUSA respond? By doing precisely the opposite.

    I think it’s important that we Anglicans (no matter our stands on the particular issues in question) be clear-sighted and forthright with one another in trying to get a handle on what’s really going on. And so it’s in that spirit of respect and candor that I say blaming the conservatives is mistaken.

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