- After Rowan: Priorities for the Anglican Communion by John Milbank
I really recommend this article. I see no need to reproduce it here. I am impressed by Dr Milbank’s analysis of “Whig” latitudinarianism and Erastianism, and how modern “liberalism” is modelled on it. He rightly complains about the predominantly “liberal” and managerialist ecclesial culture that encourages bureaucratisation and over-specialisation.
The clergy need better and more thorough education, at least equivalent to the Roman Catholic seminary system, preferably coupled with a theology course in a university. That is fine by me, but I think Milbank might be neglecting the dimension of hands-on experience, though he happily does not forget the spiritual aspect which is primordial. I am quite flabbergasted to find The Church of England needs some sort of equivalent of the Catholic cardinalate. But Milbank qualifies this idea by having global primates fulfilling this role and not a “super-elite” as in the Roman Catholic Church. He also comes out with the idea that the Anglican Church needs to have a teaching voice, not an infallible authority, but simply a return from the current tendency of leaving the faithful with no guidance at all.
These three notions would not be intended to create a kind of parallel or rival Roman Catholic Church, but to be seen as only steps towards an eventual reunification under Roman primacy.
Milbank’s strongest wish is for there to be new blood to warm the frigidity of the “Whig” Church – what matters for Anglicans in the near future is finally to expunge from its midst the more heterodox and worldly-compromising notions of surviving whiggery, in order that Anglicanism can at last stand forth in its hidden coherence: radically biblical yet hyper-Catholic; sturdily incarnated in land, parish and work, yet sublimely aspiring in its verbal, musical and visual performances. If that seems a little wordy, read it phrase by phrase, and you’ll get it!
He also impresses me by correctly identifying the hallmark and scourge of any established and institutional Church – bureaucracy and inertia. The organisation exists for its own sake and not for the Christian mission. Of course, I would not point a finger only at the Church of England – – – but also Ultra Montes!
Go and read the article, and I would like to know what you think.