Charity for Anglo Catholics

I have read comments and posts from Catholics in comboxes on other blogs which reveal ignorance and a lack of charity towards Anglo Catholics. Catholics need to be reminded that our ‘separated brethren’ are not all in a state of conscious heresy, schism and rebellion against Rome. Many of them have received their faith in good conscience and have arguments for remaining Anglican which, from their point of view, make good sense.
To help Catholic readers understand and sympathize, and pray intelligently, I am publishing here, (with his permission) excerpts from a private email I have had from a young Anglo Catholic priest in England.

I‘ve grown up knowing and loving the Mass and the Sacraments and I’ve been born into a Church which I was always taught was a fractured part of the wider Catholic Church, though one that was materially rent asunder from the rock of Peter from whence she was hewn. I have, therefore, difficulties with some who speak of “stolen churches and cathedrals” since I was always brought up to believe in the continuity of Catholic faith and practice within the English Church, despite the Reformation. 

I have not ever believed myself to be a Protestant, nor a heretic or schismatic, but merely one who was born into a Church which I believed to be destined to be ‘on the way’, so to speak, towards full, visible unity with Rome. Indeed, I was always taught as such by good Anglo-Catholic priests, and have never believed myself, nor my fellow Anglo-Catholics, to be knowingly ‘kidding themselves’ about the destiny of Anglicanism, even after the admission of women to the ministerial priesthood in the C of E after 1994. Provision was made and we believed that the Church was in a ‘period of discernment’ about this matter. Come what may, I told myself, Catholic faith and order could be preserved within a part of the Church of England which tried to keep the traditional and orthodox faith and morality and yearned for them to be fulfilled. 

As one, therefore, born into the C of E and baptised by it and confirmed into it, sustained by the teaching and sacramental ministry of its priests who kept the Catholic faith ‘as the Church of England has received it’, I pursued a call to ordained minstry within it. I trained at Mirfield (an Anglo Catholic seminary) and have now been a priest for two years. I love it and I love ministering and preaching and teaching. 

And yet: my experience of ministry in  the Church of England and my understanding of what it is doing to its received faith and understandig of Catholic order forces me to look seriously at where ultimate truth is revealed. As much as I love being that person whom I feel God has called me to be, I yearn for that truth and I yearn for that unity – unity around the Petrine office – of which I have been taught is vital. 

I am, I suppose, and always have been, what we Anglicans call an Anglo-Papist, and Monday’s vote has, regardless of any potential ‘provision’,  taken the C of E down a route I can not go. How can our House of Bishops stand when it will be divided? How can it so ignore the ecumenical imperative? How can it, as you say, witness to truth when it contiually spits in the face of the Church of Rome each time she offers us the olive branch?  As a priest, I am on the forefront of life in the C of E and find little unity and commitment to truth among my fellow clerics in my own Deanery: evangelicals with little respect for tradition and for the Sacraments, liberals who allow anything to happen and aren’t bothered about the marriage discipline, women priests and so on. The lack of a magisterium is clear and each parish priest is a pope. . . 

I am on the brink. I pray earnestly that I may continue to live out my call as a priest. Where I do not know. . .I place all my trust in God, but I feel that I am being called home. I pray that talks between out bishops and the Vatican will bear fruit. If Rome does not open the door in such a way as will allow some coporate submission of Anglo-Catholics to the Holy See, I shall probably open the door myself. I am married to an American and I have two beautiful children. What will the future hold? 

  • Fr. Jeffrey Steel

    That’s the truth of many of us!

  • jasoncpetty

    Thanks for the insightful post, Father.I don’t envy that priest’s situation. I do hope Rome–and, more appropriately, local bishops who have to decide to take him in–provides an option. (If the trans-Tiberian numbers are large enough, I don’t see why a personal prelature, even a territorial one, might not be an option?) I know the difficulties of the Pastoral Provision in England, but it seems to me it’s just as difficult on a practical level to “get in” here in the U.S., especially for those men ordained after the 1992 decision. It’s almost like the American bishops think to themselves: “Knowing what you know, why’d you ever get yourself ordained there in the first place?” I was just reading about Saint Augustine and the Donatists (no comparisons being made there!); we need more men with his forgiveness and wisdom today. Prayers to Saint Augustine on the way for all men in your painful circumstance.

  • jasoncpetty

    Hey, didn’t see your previous post. Personal prelature, what a good idea. :)

  • jane bonady watson

    God bless all Anglicans who make the choice to come to Rome. You have been through a lot and are making many serious life changes. I am preying for you and welcoming you.jane in memphis

  • duhvinci

    …PRAYING for you!jane in memphis

  • Fr Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.

    It saddens me that so many fail to manifest compassion and charity to our Anglican brethren. There is no way we can know the suffering they endure and have been enduring for many years.Be assured that the closed-mindedness and hardheartedness of some commenters does not represent the attitudes of the majority who wish you God’s blessings and guidance in this difficult and turbulent time.

  • James

    Fr. Longenecker,Excellent post, I hope it helps many Catholics to understand better where these poor souls are coming from. It is hard for many of us cradle Catholics to truly wrap our minds around the situation and belief of Anglo-catholics. Those of us blessed to have been born in the Catholic Church can never understand the dilemma these people are in. I doubt many of us would have the strength to endure what they have.These Anglicans firmly believe that they already ARE big “C” Catholics. The situation is not one of wanting to stay outside of the Catholic Church but one of believing that they already ARE in the Catholic Church, just juridically separated from Rome. Whether it’s hope for corporate reunion; non-acceptance of papal universal jurisdiction; the firm conviction that their orders are valid and inability to countenance that 50 years of ministry could have been done under an error; or other, the reasons that they have for remaining separated from Rome are not willful disobedience or stubbornness but grave, serious and reasoned, reaching to the very foundation of their faith. Having been born a Catholic the need to be in full communion with the Pope in order to be fully Catholic seems plainly obvious to me. I have not had to struggle with it nor have I been taught or believed that I already was Catholic without it. Not having endured the prayerful searching out for the truth that these brave souls have, I can never fully understand where they are coming from.These are honest and true men whose faith is purer and stronger than many within Holy Mother Church. When they stand before the judgment, willful disobedience will not be a stain on their soul; something that cannot be said for many Catholics. I pray that recent events are sufficiently severe that these good men realize the necessity of union with Peter and that we Catholics do all we can to help them home. These are our brothers and sisters and if we fail to provide for them we will be judged. Saint Philip Howard pray for us.James G

  • kebacharach

    To the young Anglo Catholic priest in England,Always remember that the Lord is the way, the truth and the light. I will pray for you as you face your struggles. As for your little children, God loves them, now and forever. I trust that God will guide you in your journey.I will also pray for those who do not act in Love to your struggle.KB

  • Bill

    I am thankful to have not seen some of the comments you were eluding to. Unthankfully, it’s because I’ve stopped reading most Catholic-oriented blogs. It became harder and harder to justify why I returned to my Catholic roots to Evangelicals when it was the Catholics that appeared to be spitting all the venom. The nail-on-the-head was one (naturally anonymous) commenter that stated that “Catholic converts will never truly be Catholic because they have too much non-Catholicism tainting them” (forgive the paraphrase, it’s been a long while).But in his article in the (British) Catholic Herald, the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham said, “As for those who choose to go, like in the early 1990s these will include some of the finest Anglican clergy.” And I thought, “Hey! He’s talking about Fr Longenecker!” So I figured I wander back to your site, at the very least, where some measure of decorum has always existed.Now… how about that new “New Yorker” about how GK Chesterton always was a horrendous anti-Semite… (also mentioned on the Catholic Herald)

  • Scelata

    Thanks, insightul post, touching letter from the Anglican priest.I pray that some erstwhile “Catholics” will see themselve in this reproach.I have been deeply saddened by the lack of charity of some bloggers and blog commentators toward our C of E brethren (and sistren.)Save the Liturgy, Save the World

  • P

    Father,I guess I would like to offer the opposing side, to help Anglicans understand some of the comments that they may be seeing.Anglicanism is, to put it bluntly, the single most evil thing that has ever existed on the face of this Earth. I say this without the slightest hyperbole. It would be impossible to list all of their crimes here, but we might list but two:Firstly, the Anglican Church is responsible (although not solely responsible) for the utter destruction of Christendom and, by extension, everything in the world that deserves the name civilization. There is little doubt that the Reformation could not have succeeded without the financial and military support of England and the geographical refuge that faithless isle provided to seditious traitors over the whole of Europe.The perverse doctrine of “the Divine Right of Kings” could never have gained the ground it did on the continent without the blasphemous example of Henry VIII and his successors proclaiming themselves the head of their local Church and above the jurisdiction of the universal Church. The French Revolution, Imperialism, Fascism, Communism, and all of the totalitarian ideologies of the modern world are the fruit of the Anglican schism.The second, at the opposite end of their history, is the Lambeth conference of the 1930s which caused the utter apostasy of almost every Christian denomination in the world from the orthodox position on contraception which had been held unbrokenly for 19 centuries after Christ. The link between contraception and abortion (not to mention the abortifacient nature of chemical contraceptives) is well established. With 40 million children butchered in their mother’s wombs worldwide each year, is it surprising that there is sometimes a failure of temperance towards those responsible for inflicting this pestilence upon the world?Now, I want to be clear that I am not without empathy for the plight of those Anglicans who find themselves immersed in this wretched corruption. I am reminded of the situation faced by Gen. Erwin Rommel, who had to choose between letting his own nation be destroyed by its enemies and defending it when had been consumed by evil.But while I can empathize, I cannot sympathize. And with all due respect to Father Bailey, the suffering any Anglican endures is insignificant to the sufferings which Anglicans have inflicted upon this fallen world.But for any Anglican reading this, do not think for a moment that my utter hatred and contempt for the vile, murderous sect to which you belong transfers to you personally. I view you with the same charity which I hold for all of us in this veil of tears, where our sight is so often limited, and our path so often unclear. What guilt, if any at all, you share in these crimes I have mentioned is known to God only – and I make no claims at all regarding it, except to hope with all my heart that not even the slightest drop of innocent blood should be imputed to you.All that I have written here, I have written for charity’s sake – not that passions should be inflamed, but that understanding should be enlightened. I did not write to berate you, but in the hopes that you might have a greater insight into any of the obstacles that you may encounter.If any harsh words or phrases herein should lay a snare for you, forgive me.Please pray for me and all of my fellow Catholics, as I can promise you that I pray for you, in the words of St. Thomas More, that whatever we may disagree about on this earth, “may yet hereafter in Heaven merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation.”

  • Irenaeus

    Wow. I’ve felt similar things about what Henry VIII launched but never would have the onions to write them in such a bold way. My only thing would be to put more blame at Luther’s feet. That rent the continent in two.

  • Little Black Sambo

    P: a most interesting list of things for which Anglicanism has been to blame. No wonder we Anglicans are treated with caution! And there was I thinking that all those things were Mrs Thatcher’s fault! Oh well, you learn something new every day.

  • dianonymous

    Gosh, Father Longenecker, I haven’t seen all those nasty comments you mention. But then I don’t hang out at many blogs these days, mostly because I have a job and a family and all that Life Stuff, which kind of gets in the way of blog-hopping; plus, the kids fried the modem the other night by leaving the Internet on during a thunder storm….I myself did state, at Mike Liccione’s blog, that, when I was Anglican (during the ’80s), I had a hard time taking Anglicanism seriously. But if you’d seen the kind of Anglicanism I was exposed to, you’d understand my sentiment. Back when we lived right outside Middlebury, Vermont, I used to joke that someone should put up a plaque on the door of the local Episcopal Church: “Warning: Attending this church could be hazardous to your faith.” But, then, New England is…different…that way.

  • kentuckyliz

    Anglican scolds don’t go very far with me.My ancestors were Recusants and lost property, money, opportunity, and civil rights due to the oppression of the C of E. They paid the “Catholic rent.” They were treated as criminals in their own country.I now live in fundamentalistland and feel a sense of relief around others who understand sacraments and liturgical worship–but it’s always the Anglicans and the Episcopalians who make the snide remark about the Catholic faith and those who are Catholic. Even my own brother and sister! They’ve gone Piskie due to marriage.The snide comments show a feeling of superiority, Anglophilia, xenophobia, power-loving elitism, intellectual pride, lack of charity–the bottom line.I say nothing…nothing! I even swallow hard and go to their church with them sometimes…even suffering their priestesses. Yikes. But it’s clear that no one in their church believes anything in common, it’s highly individualistic and fragmented and there’s this brittle pretended unity. It leads to seeing faith as a DIY project. My brother even got ordained as a ULC minister because he thinks he’s smarter and better than most priests and priestesses he knows.That’s what bad catechesis leads to! My sibs grew up Catholic but in the 70s when there was no catechesis, just stupidity parading burlap and felt banners.This post was sad to read. A person’s carefully constructed ahistorical self delusions popping like a fragile little soap bubble.Reality is very freeing.Welcome home, any time you’re ready. Don’t violate your conscience by waiting for the group. Swim boldly and be a good example.

  • matthew archbold

    That whole situation must be so hard on so many people. Truth be told, I was surprised at some of the reactions I heard. I’ll pray that the Church does the right thing here.

  • Southern and Catholic

    I’ve been intrigued by these recent developments and Father Longnecker’s commentary has been of great interest to me. Having spent some time in Britain, I am afraid that the bishops there might not prove as welcoming as they should to those considering a swim.I myself flirted with Anglicanism a few years ago when I was what I like to call an “agnostic Presbyterian”. I went to several Episcopalian churches in the States and found Anglo-Catholicism, in particular, very attractive. Like others have mentioned, the draw of ‘Anglophilia’ is very strong and high Anglicanism is undeniably beautiful. Fortunately, I was at a Catholic high school in Charleston, SC which helped me to consider Roman Catholicism as an option, something I had not done as I came from a family which looks askance at Roman Catholics. However, after much reading, praying, etc., I decided that I simply must go across the Tiber rather than the Thames.I certainly don’t condemn those Anglo-Catholics who have remained in their church. Had I been fortunate enough to have been born into that Faith tradition, I doubt that I would have been so eager to ‘pope’. Nevertheless, I urge Anglo-Catholics to make this difficult jump. As Father Longnecker and others have said, it isn’t easy (particularly in England, I know) but it is certainly worth it in the end.At the moment, I am about to start my final year at the only Episcopalian college in the USA – Sewanee. It is certainly not Anglo-Catholic (it has a seminary which is practically pagan), however I have met many Anglo-Catholics who have also contemplated the difficult step which so many are now considering. Indeed, some people in my fraternity (we do more than drink!) are struggling with the idea as we speak.Unlike ‘p’, I don’t believe that Anglicanism is evil, disordered perhaps but not evil. Although I never joined that communion, I believe that my Anglophilia and interest in Anglicanism helped me on my way to Rome.To conclude this rambling, poorly considered, poorly written, and very frustrating post let me just say finish by reiterating the point of this post: Anglo-Catholics, please come over! You will, I hope and pray, prove marvelous assets to those already sheltered within the barque of Peter!

  • Marcus Aurelius

    Liz,I’m with you on the southern recusant thing and the negative comments of Anglicans. But we need to see past that if we want to wave them in from the other shore of the Tiber.

  • Fr Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.

    P, it’s very easy for you to write such crap when you don’t have to take responsibility for it by posting your name… your full name. You can’t be held accountable since no one knows who you are. Your comments are truly laughable, and wouldn’t get a second glance from me were they not posted at such a sensative time. They exhibit ignorance and a lack of Christian charity.Your first claim shows a logical fallacy. The whole are not guilty of the crimes of a few. Using your thought process all Americans are guilty of slavery. It was Henry VIII, Cranmer, Edward’s regents, Elizabeth I, etc. who might or might not be guilty of the “crimes” you mention. You accuse but offer nothing to back up what you say.The doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings is not an Anglican invention. It goes back centuries and had been held by every pre-Reformation monarch. It goes back to ancient Egypt and China, and in its Christian concept is rooted in St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 13.Your second arguement follows the same course of reasoning as the first. You impute guilt on the whole for the sins of the few. And the claim the Lambeth Conferance of the 1930s (you don’t even bother to get the date) “caused the utter apostasy of almost every Christian denomination in the world from the orthodox position on contraception which had been held unbrokenly for 19 centuries after Christ” is utter preposterous. If you are going to make the assertion, provide the proof.As I said, in another time and place I wouldn’t consider your comments worth a second glance. But this is a time when Anglicans need to know that opinions like yours are not held by even a very few Catholics, but by a bigoted and ignorant very tiny minority.

  • bernadette

    “Most” ??? sorry, disagree, Fr Dwight., with the greatest of respect, as I think you are wonderful.And, the odd thing is, I have had a fair bit do to with some Anglo- Catholic conversions in the past 3 years. None, though, in the past week.And those of us who are sounding caution are now being castigated as without charity. It certainly is interesting.

  • bernadette

    Fr Bailey, I think that “P’s ” comment is one of the few honest and heartfelt ones here. I don`t know why it should rouse such anger in you. He/she truly loves the Catholic Church. And that would seem to come at a price in 2008. I defend his/her anonymity as well. You should read some of the hate mail I`ve had in the past 48 hours. Glad I`ve writtten a will.Of course, that may be a crime pretty soon (defending the Catholic church). Certainly in the UK, anyway.Bless you (no, seriously). And do pray for us uncharitable anti-false-ecumenists. It`s a bit dreary. No, road-map and all that.Bernadette. (My real name).

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Bernadette, I’ve changed ‘most’ to ‘many’.I hope you’re still my friend…

  • James

    I hope that no one thinks I am talking out of both sides of my mouth if after having praised the faith of individual Anglicans I now attack the Anglican Church as an institution. I want to make it expressly clear that I in no way intend to disparage individual Christians who are outside of the Catholic Church but I will speak frankly the ills of the institution that they are in.While I do not necessarily agree with all that P wrote (e.g. divine right of kings, having not studied the subject) I do agree that the Established Church of England and the Anglicanism that sprang from it is, as an institution, a vile and evil thing. This is because the institution is a soul-rotting parasite that graphs itself onto Christian believers and impedes their path toward righteousness. The institution leads Christians into error; denies them the grace of the Sacraments; robs them of their Christian inheritance; and most fundamentally keeps them separated from the Church. It is an anchor tied to the individual Christians within, preventing their union with Christ’s body, the Church; most deceptively by claiming to be a part of that body.It is true that no institution can truly be evil without the actions of evil individuals within it; nor is the Church herself free from evil individuals. At best the Anglican Communion could be neutral, neither impeding nor helping the Christians within but that does not seem to be the case. God’s grace does reach the individual Christians within this “synagogue of Satan” but the institution is by no means a channel or vehicle of that grace but instead an impediment to it. Most fundamentally it is a stumbling block by making it acceptable for and encouraging the individual Christians within it to hold error as truth and by promoting evil acts.P’s second point is the perfect example. The evil of contraception was allowed to afflict Christians first by the Anglican Communion, spreading from there. I have personally witnessed members of said body using their institution’s acceptance of contraception as justification for it. Have we not all read various defenses of abortion issued by members of TEC using their institutions official acceptance and encouragement of abortion as justification? The Church stands firm against these evils where as this institution encourages it. Can we truly say that any institution that not only doesn’t speak out against these things but encourages them is anything but diabolical?The Devil has indeed appeared as “an Angel of light” allowing much of what is true and beautiful to flourish within the institution in order to make it that much harder for the Christians within to escape. It is for this reason that we Catholics must do all we can to support and encourage the faithful Christians within to flee from the Church of England. We should erect no barriers and dismantle as many road blocks as we can to allow the good people within to come home to the Church. We must treat our separated brothers and sisters with love and charity and help them to escape the soul-rotting institution. We must never disparage them and do all we can to put our own house in order for their homecoming.James G

  • P

    Father,Let me respond as briefly as possible point by point:1. My full name would not tell you who I am, as your full name does not tell me who you are. I suppose I could provide my name, dob, ssn, and address, thus indisputably eliminating the possibility of confusing my identity with that of anyone else who shares my name, but I don’t really want to.Also, it is absurd to say that I do not have to take responsibility for what I write, since it is known to God, before whom no one is anonymous, and whose judgment alone I fear.2. Regarding my supposed lack of Christian charity, I felt it necessary to tell the truth, which is one of the highest duties of charity, with the express purpose of granting to our separated brethren an understanding of the obstacles they may have faced. My silence would not have silenced every other harsh word on the internet, but by speaking it was my sincere hope that our Anglican brothers might be able to receive such comments with the judgment of charity, and realize that whatever they have heard or read that might have struck them as harsh or grating does not necessarily reflect a dislike for them personally, or indicate that they would receive a reception as harsh as these words if they should attempt to return to the Church.3. I made no inference that the whole were guilty of the crimes of the few. In fact, I specifically denied any such assertion.But more importantly, I was not talking about the crimes of the few – I was talking about the crimes of the whole. The crimes I mentioned were not the crimes of some or another Anglican, but the crimes of Anglicanism itself – they flow from the philosophy, ecclesiology, and political notions that Anglicanism has foisted on the world. Even still, I say that the whole is not guilty of the crimes of the few, and I say also that the few are not guilty of the crimes of the whole. But rather the whole, Anglicanism, is guilty of those crimes which stem from its beliefs.4. I do not hold “all Americans” guilty of slavery, nor does my argument lead to such a conclusion. But by my argument America is guilty of slavery, as America is guilty of the genocide of the American Indians. Whether I as an American am guilty of these crimes, or whether Anglicans as such are guilty of the crimes of their sect, I specifically denied any knowledge.5. I suppose I could have written a 300 page dissertation to “back up what I say” re: Anglicanism, but that would have been a rather tedious comment (for which I may well be guilty in any event). And again, I did not write for the purpose of indicting Anglicanism, but to inform Anglicans that this indictment has indeed been leveled against their sect, so that they might have a better understanding of some of the posts they might see about the internet.6. The Divine Right of Kings is not the mere general doctrine that the government’s authority is from God. It is a name for a particular theory that originated post-Reformation, holding among other things that the populace had a duty to profess the religion of their sovereign. It is a heresy. Like all heresies, it is recycled crap from earlier generations, for Satan can create nothing, and so I admit that elements of it are found previously, and even that elements of it are contained in the Truth, but it was a specific post-Reformation legal theory.7. I did get the date – the 1930s. If I had mentioned the year, but not the month, what then? How many Lambeth conferences in the 1930s that abandoned the traditional Christian teaching on contraception were there? If it makes you feel better, it was exactly 1930. A yahoo search on “lambeth contraception” gave me that on its first link.8. That any priest could be so utterly ignorant of the history of life issues boggles my mind. Do you really mean to tell me that you are unaware of the historic Christian consensus on contraception that existed in every single Christian denomination w/out exception until the Anglicans caved?And do you really mean to argue that the fact that every single denomination except Catholicism and the Orthodox fell into line like dominoes in a few decades afterwards is mere coincidence?So I assert again, quite boldly: the Anglican Church is principally responsible for the acceptance of contraception in the world. What is preposterous about this claim?Furthermore, I assert that the acceptance of contraception is the hallmark and essence of what HH JP2 called “the Culture of Death” and is directly responsible for the legalization of abortion throughout much of the world.Furthermore, I assert that the separation of conception from the marital act by the acceptance of “that sodomitic sin” (in the words of Martin Luther) is essential to the normalization and acceptance of homosexuality that has already occurred, and the normalization of pedophilia that will occur (as it has historically occurred in every nation that has normalized the former).And therefore, I conclude, that the Anglican Church is morally responsible first, for all of the blood that has been shed by abortion in the past 78 years, and second, for the destruction of the human family that has and is taking place before our eyes.And I assert, yet again, for the benefit of any others such as yourself who seem to have a hard time grasping this concept, that I DO NOT hereby conclude that each particular Anglican is guilty of these sins – that is a judgment for God alone to make.And in conclusion, I say again that all I write, I write for charity. I write because I believe that Anglicanism and all that it represents (the autonomy of the State from the Church, theological pluralism, etc.) represents the greatest threat to human civilization in the world today. I consider it to be “Abaddon, Apollyon, Exterminans,” the church of the anti-christ, with the appearance of the lamb but the voice of the dragon. The spirit of Anglicanism represents everything that must be destroyed if Christendom is to be restored.There is nothing I desire less than that any Anglican should be scandalized by what I say. But I cannot stay silent when I see those who hold by their own admission the Catholic faith adhere to a body which teaches truth and falsehood side by side – and such falsehoods as have shed the blood of hundreds of millions and continue to do so.If in my horror of error I have said anything evil against anyone, forgive me as I forgive all men.Father, I believe that you are motivated by the same charity as I am, but that charity has been shaped and guided differently by prudence. As I believe you utterly and dangerously wrong, I cannot but disagree with you. But I hold no rancor toward you for our disagreement. If in anything I have failed in courtesy toward you, forgive me.May God use our disagreement to show that not even all who love God will see all things alike until we see Truth Himself in the Beatific Vision. May God grant that all shall persevere in charity until that day.And to all Anglicans, once again, may God bless you and keep you. May the Holy Spirit grant you contempt for the world, and scorn for all the opinions of men, that you may do His will, and His only, without respect for any persons.

  • kentuckyliz

    I agree with p on the artificial contraception/1930 Lambeth comments.There’s a very good article on some of the dynamics within Anglicanism leading up to 1930 Lambeth. (Touchstone magazine)” As late as 1874, the average Anglican clergyman in England still had 5.2 living children. In 1911, however, just three years after the bishops had condemned contraception, the new census of England showed that the average family size of Anglican clergy had fallen to only 2.3 children, a stunning decline of 55 percent. The British Malthusian League—a strong advocate of contraception—had a field day exposing what it called the hypocrisy of the priests.As the league explained, the Church of England continued to view contraception as a sin, and yet its clerics and bishops were obviously engaging in the practice. Apparently only the poor and the ignorant had to obey the church.There was not much that Anglican leaders could say in response. This propaganda continued for another two decades, and soon some Anglican theologians were arguing that Britain’s poverty required the birth of fewer children.Pressures culminated at the 1930 Lambeth Conference, where bishops heard an address by birth-control advocate Helena Wrighton on the advantages of contraception for the poor. On a vote of 193 to 67, the bishops (representing not only England but also America, Canada, and the other former colonies) approved a resolution stating that: In those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles.This was the first official statement by a major church body in favor of contraception. Thus was Christian unity on the question broken. The decision was condemned by many religious and secular bodies, including the editors of the Washington Post. Pope Pius XI responded to it in his encyclical Casti Connubii four months later.The same stress line emerged in America. For example, in the very conservative Lutheran Church/Missouri Synod, the average pastor in 1890 had 6.5 children. The number fell to 3.7 children in 1920, 42 percent below the 1890 number. Other churches saw a similar decline. Here, too, the Protestant clergy had ceased to be models of a fruitful home for their congregations and the broader culture.”’s interesting that not only Catholics reject artificial contraception and embrace NFP, but there are feminists, environmentalist wackos, and anti-big-Pharma folks doing the same. If only our Christian brothers and sisters would come to their senses.Did you see Janet Smith on Living His Life Abundantly Monday night? Powerful! Helped to explain why scads of men were always powerfully attracted to me! Also helps to explain why Paul VI was right, and a prophet, even understating the case; and using anthropology and epidemiology to support the truth he courageously maintained. God bless him!

  • Athanasius of Alexandria

    Your post exactly encapsulates the feelings of many of us. And, whilst it might be true that Anglicanism is as ghastly and diabolical as some here paint it, it isn’t always easy to see what people think your house looks like until you step outside it. Then again, it may be that those outside don’t know what all the rooms are like inside.The whole situation is pretty ghastly, but I genuinely don’t think that those who will go to Rome will do so over this one issue. I think it’ll be because they see that the time is now up. For those who sincerely believed that the Henrician Schism didn’t irreversibly destroy all that was Catholic within the CofE, and who have been working to preach and teach the faith, it will probably be the case that they think there isn’t any more Catholic gold left to gather up out of the mudslide that is Anglicanism, and that it is now time humbly to offer that at the foot of the focus of unity in Catholic Christendom, namely the Throne of Peter.

  • Bill

    I retract my own previous statements. I should’ve kept reading.To P – I have studied history and know quite a bit about Divine Right of Kings, European history, etc. (lived there for several years, have a degree on the subject, etc.). I would politely request that more be done on the subject – but please try to include more apolitical authorship rather than those solely from one side (I do not want to use words like “biased” or “agenda” here – but it would be akin to learning about Catholicism from Hal Lindsey, Rebecca Brown or James White). You do claim a desire to reveal the truth – so I hope that you don’t take this harshly.Wording is critical, too. You can discuss the evil of an organization without using overly emotional phrases. It is precisely this reason that I want Karl Keating to rewrite his “Catholicism and Fundamentalism” book. Great material – but quite inflammatory in places, even though his intent was not that. (The handful of times I’ve gotten Evangelicals to read it, they’ve not gotten far).I would also request relooking at Cause and Effect, Bellwethers, and Reaction theories. That the Anglicans were the first to allow contraception does not make them the origination point. Kentuckyliz actually proves this by quoting family size rather than birth rates (her figures coming only three years after acceptance… hardly enough time to raise, or not raise, children). Cultures were shifting violently at the time. The United States was dealing with depression and the fallout from the Gilded Age. World War I has a psychological toll that most US citizens cannot even comprehend (some, like Samuel Hynes, even blame it for the “generation gap”… which wouldn’t happen in the US for another several decades).If that were true, Napoleon would be the cause of the Holocaust (read up on nationalism), the Catholic Church would be the cause of anti-Semitism (read up on the early church and Rome’s surprising amount of inclusion of other faiths) and St Augustine started the Reformation (after all, Luther was an Augustinian monk).Kentucklyliz – I am saddened that your family suffered under the C of E. It’s very true that the church acted in bad faith. Such comes when theology becomes wrapped in nationalism (which is still going on… just ask the fiance of the thirteenth in line to the crown of England – names escape me). But this is political power using a false theology to justify its own interests. Read up on the abuses in the Spanish Inquisition (no, not the “good” parts… but there were abuses), the reign of Mary I and Franco – all of which in the “Catholic” camp.That Anglicanism is a great “wrong” – that I would not disagree. However, I would fault it for different reasons. An ill conceived charade, too close to the real thing, causes many to fall. Patriotism intertwined with Religion – can easily result in Religion wrapped around Patriotism. And, in my opinion, it is this latter argument that causes the current problems – with a theology based on democracy (lowest common denominator, some would say) subject to the Zeitgeist rather than anything solid and firm.And, p. Yes. Being an initial is being anonymous. Your profile is inaccessible. That you only answer to God as your judge is true and admirable… but that’s the argument I typically hear to justify Evangelical comments. Your words do affect the temporal as well as the spiritual.

  • P

    Bill,I don’t take your disagreement harshly at all. I have no doubt that my view of history is imperfect, and would not be surprised to find that I am in complete error on some subjects.On wording, I must disagree. If someone says that the Holocaust was “inappropriate” no one is going to take them seriously. If someone says that the Catholic Church “doesn’t enjoy full freedom of religion” in Saudia Arabia, people will shrug their shoulders. I didn’t feel it was possible to explain to our Anglican brethren the caustic reactions they may have seen by saying, “Well, you see, some folks find Anglican theology problematic.”I’m relatively unimpressed by your arguments on Cause and Effect. Obviously, since God is the first cause of all things, we could simply dismiss talking about secondary causes at all. As I specifically mentioned in my first post, Anglicanism is not solely responsible for any of these things, but to say there were prior causes as well does not demonstrate that Anglicanism was not a subsequent cause.I don’t believe Kentuckliz’s comments really demonstrate what you think they demonstrate. That Anglicans used contraception prior to 1930 is true. That Catholics used contraception prior to Humanae Vitae (and still do so) is also true. But that is talking about Anglicans and Catholics, not Anglicanism and Catholicism. Despite the apostasy of many, many Catholics, the Church still stands for everything the Church stands for, and people know it and hate her for it. But the Anglican Church itself, not merely this or that Anglican, formally abandoned the fight on contraception, and now on sodomy, and presumably will do so on whatever comes down the pike next. The Church still teaches the Truth, the Anglicans do noAs for your examples, I agree that Napoleon was a contributing cause of the Holocaust. I’m not sure what you mean by the Church’s inclusion of other faiths leading to anti-semitism. As for St. Augustine, founding the Augustinians has nothing to do with the Reformation, even though Martin Luther was one, unless you can show a theological relationship between the theology of St. Augustine and the Reformation.The main issue here is the confusion between mere coincidence and philosophical influence on the course of history. The reason Napoleon is responsible for the Holocaust and St. Augustine is not for the Reformation is because the philosophies of the former are truly related, IMO, while Austinian theology repudiates Reformation notions such as the denial of free will. I will grant that certain aspects of Augustinian thought are prominent in Reformation theology, but then you are in the argument of development vs. corruption – which is certainly a debatable point. Personally, I hold Nazism and Fascism to be developments of Napoleonism, and Lutheranism and Calvinism to be corruptions of Augustinianism. But others may disagree.I do not deny that I am anonymous. But I deny that being “p” is any more anonymous than being “bill.”As for answering to God, I mentioned that in response to the slander of Father Bailey that I only write “such crap” because my anonymity allows me to avoid responsibility, which is obviously false given God’s omniscience. That my words have temporal effects is true, but the temporal effects are unaffected by my anonymity or lack thereof.