Fr. Dwight Longenecker…

on the tragedy of Anglicanism and the war in its heart between believing Christianity to be a revelation or a mere cultural coalition.

I owe a debt that cannot be paid to a number of Anglican thinkers, including Lewis, Sayers, Williams and John Donne. Still, I can’t help thinking they would all be Catholics today if confronted with the choice between the spectacle of smug New Age pro-aborts running the fiasco today vs. Pope Benedict. The Catholic communion, for all its huge problems, is the picture of good health compared with the zoo that poor Chris Johnson chronicles every day.

  • ivan_the_mad

    I’m praying for them. What’s going on in that church is downright traumatic for not a few of its members.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    Actually, what’s going on in the Anglican Communion is the same thing going on in many Protestant traditions. The basic theological assumption behind what we call ‘liberalism’ is that religion was a mere cultural coalition. And while there is an inner consistency there, it doesn’t seem to work well with religions based on the idea that they are uniquely True, and come from a divinely revealed source.

  • sibyl

    This weekend we went to a beautiful Lessons and Carols at an Episcopalian church nearby (my sister was one of the singers). Never having been inside, I was astounded at the truly gorgeous church interior; a cruciform architecture, lovely stained glass, gleaming brass candles, something that looked suspiciously like a Catholic Easter candle, even stations of the cross on the walls, with an ornate chi rho figure painted on the back of the sanctuary. The minister (Priest?) was robed almost exactly as a Catholic priest would have been, and the form of readings and responses was familiar to me (“The Lord be with you,” “And also with you,” for example). And of course the music was breathtakingly lovely — mostly Gregorian and renaissance chants and carols, not a clunker among them.

    It was, to tell you the truth, spooky. It had all the appearance of faith, from the audience (congregation?) as well as from the minister, who pronounced the prayers reverently, begging forgiveness for sin, mercy on the world, and the return of Christ in glory. I kept thinking, Does he really believe this? Does this audience really believe this? It was so at odds with everything I hear from the wacky arm of Episcopalians; there was no hint of accommodation of the culture. It was truly a beautiful liturgy, enhanced by the lack of applause at the end (something you can’t even entirely escape even in the RC church!).

    I came away feeling that the Episcopalians of that church, at least, had preserved a great deal of the beauty of the liturgy, and also hoping that this will eventually lead every last true believer into the arms of the Catholic Church.

    • Marion (Mael Muire)

      In the later years of the ancient Roman empire, the educated didn’t believe in the Roman pagan gods at all, but continued diligently to build their their elaborate temples and carefully to observe all of the traditional sacrifices and festivals for the sake of cultural and political solidarity.

      I think even today it is possible for a group of people to assemble in a superbly decorated theatre, and there to participate in an elaborate ritual-set-piece-performance, all of which renews their sense of connection to a proud and glorious past, and also renews their sense of membership in the advanced, the ultra-civilized and the superior just for being there, without actually having a word of the prayers they are reciting penetrate their heart or minds, and without actually believing a word of any of it. Indeed, to actually believe a word of any of it would be to risk becoming culturally and intellectually backward; to believe the entire body of it would be to risk becoming positively medieval . . . and we know what that means – one step away from Neanderthal.

  • Ellen

    John Donne was a Catholic, but became an Anglican. I have his poem Hymn to God the Father up on my cubicle. He was one of the finest religious poets in the English language .

  • Obpoet

    Watch out, you might attract the Flying Vic.

  • tz

    If we are in “good health”, (literally) God help us (remembering the Laodiceans). Yet you said “comparatively”. Someone with a heartbeat v.s. a corpse. Steve Camp’s “Living in Laodiciea” comes to mind.

    C. S. Lewis would not have the audience if he were officially “Catholic”. The same with Tolkien, who layered the mythos deeper.


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