Herding Cats Revisited


My wife and I have two adorable Chartreux cats who luxuriate in their thick and soft grey fur, named Celestine and her biological offspring is called Doucelin. We are woken each morning by incessant head-rubbing and purring as these two half-starved creatures crave their morning food! We bought Celestine from a breeder, and found the kitten was not well socialised, as the breeder had several nursing cats and litters of kittens in the house, each confined to a bedroom suitably stinking of cat piss!

Cats are brought round to our way of life by giving them their needs and our affection. We also have to take away their natural sexual instinct by having them neutered by the vet, after Celestine had had her litter of three kittens (we kept one and sold the other two, which paid our veterinary and other expenses). Otherwise, they would revert to the wild state. That is how cats are, more so than dogs. Then the denatured cat adapts to life with humans, and the relationship is reinforced by means of maintaining them in a state of kittenhood by stroking them – imitating the mother cat licking them – and giving them more than what they need in terms of food. It’s a two-way contract, the human gets affection from the cat in exchange for a soft and care-free life.

So, I am really dubious when humans, religious or not, are likened to cats being herded and brought together in some form of unity. I need also to say that the advertising sketch I reproduced on Continuing Anglican Ministry – Herding Cats is very funny. Simply, cats are not cattle or sheep, or even dogs – they are not social animals.

Getting onto the point of this article, I have been looking at the latest posts on the Anglican Diaspora, which is a fine forum with some good people on it and a good friend running it. In particular, we have the continuation of the “old problem” of establishing the basis of a “comprehensive” Anglicanism that everybody could accept. It is a concept that seems to approach that of inventing and designing a time machine or a perpetual motion machine that needs no continuing energy input to keep working.

I won’t quote the postings, but they can be found in this thread (you can look at the previous pages to trace it all from the beginning). I find this thread stimulating and thought-provoking, and it has inspired a few posts on this blog. At the same time, it is frustrating because the stated goal to be attained in as impossible as time travel or perpetual motion – that is: time travel and perpetual motion are possible in a universe other than ours.

I have already said it: we either have to discard Protestantism and base ourselves on a form of pre-Reformation Catholicism, or on post-Tridentine or post-Vatican II Roman Catholicism. We can do this by knocking on Rome’s door to join the Ordinariates, go to our local Roman Catholic parishes, or by becoming something assimilable to Old Catholicism. Alternatively, we can base ourselves on the Reformation formularies and allow ourselves a little indulgence in our taste for “bells and smells” and reject both pre-Reformation and post-Tridentine Roman Catholicism as erroneous, and reject Old Catholicism as alien to the Reformed Anglican position. A third way would be to get together on the basis on rejecting any doctrinal foundation and just getting on together for the sake of improving humanity in some kind of Enlightenment perspective.

The obvious solution would seem to be an agreement to separate two groups: one loosely based on a kind of “pre-Reformation Old (Conciliar) Catholic ideal” and the other bound to the English and Continental Reformation and the old high-church movement from the late sixteenth to the late eighteenth century. I note that in the Continuing Anglican world, the latter prevails in the USA and the former in the somewhat marginal TAC and ACC communities in England. There is little need to state that my own sympathies lie with the former position, and that the Reformation is irrelevant to my own Christian life and intellectual convictions.

To insist all the same on pushing the two fundamental perspectives into one body necessarily implies that one have to give way to the other – and under an authority that can enforce compliance. This authority can be something like the Pope and the Vatican or a secular authority in somewhere like England where the Church is still established, but where anything goes. Without the authority of the Pope (RC apologists will be delighting in my “seeing the light”) or that of the confessional State, church unity can only depend on voluntary agreement.

We English have been used to clerical obfuscation and ambiguous language – saying something that can be interpreted in two or more different ways and according to different meanings attached to common words. This creates an illusion of unity, where none in fact exists, and it breeds hypocrisy and the idea that all churchman do is spend other people’s money on playing games. I would not say such an idea is wrong, and I have no time for the Church of England as it is now or since I left it more than thirty years ago.

So, we have several types of Anglicans:

  • post-modern “liberals” who have taken the Enlightenment to the ultimate extreme,
  • those who think of themselves as Protestants,
  • those who think of themselves as Catholic (non Papal, non Roman) and reject Protestantism
  • those who think of themselves as Catholic and have become Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox with or without concessions to their cultural attachments.

One cogent point of view on this forum defends the idea of having two Continuing Anglican Churches to avoid Anglo-Catholics being forced out or put in the defensive.

Is it such a bad thing to have more than one Anglican church?

The other school of thought, represented by a good friend who comments here on this blog, would refuse any possibility of such a settlement based on separation along the theological fault lines. To admit such a possibility would be admitting the illegitimacy of Anglicanism as a whole. Here it could be replied that this imperative should extend to negotiating with the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Old Catholic, Lutheran and other Confessions, with the liberals as well as the conservatives. It could be argued also that failure to produce results should result in forfeiture of the credibility of Christians to the atheists and secularists. How far do we go? If this imperative of organic unity is absolute, it looks as though we have to choose between being Protestants or Roman Catholics – or abandoning Christianity as something intrinsically founded on error and illusion.

Realistically we have to admit that, yes, there are divisions, not only within Anglicanism, but between Christians of various persuasions. Differences exist and, as a result, divisions exist. Is this acceptable? Are we brethren or are we not?

The argumentation is attractive. We either bury our differences or admit that we are not sincere Christians. Perhaps this is what has really caused the demise of Christianity in the modern world. It is founded on illusion and fallacy to such an extent that it has to be put aside and scrapped like a car that has become too unreliable and expensive to maintain. On the other end of the spectrum, the RC and Orthodox apologists are right, and we should be converting to those “true churches” – which themselves are revealing their irrelevance to the modern western world.

As far as I see it, organic unity is only possible under constraint and compulsion, on pain of excommunication which in the Middle Ages involved total social shunning. Only two ways lie open to such a pariah of society, repentance and reconciliation or death. Perhaps our friend should be campaigning for election to the Presidency of his country with the possibility of abolishing the Constitution and bringing about some kind of theocratic dictatorship to punish all kinds on non-conformity. I’m not saying that this is what he would like to do. It’s not in his nature, but it is the only way, with a Secret Police Inquisition to root out dissidence.

The big problem with this is that Christ willed that his disciples should be free, and that Redemption involved freeing the children of the new Israel from the chains of the Law – by fulfilling it. St Paul is full of this theme, as are the Gospels. We will again find this theme of freedom in twentieth century Russian philosophy and in European currents of thought as humanity groaned under the weight of the Ideologies.

Perhaps we can belong to a single body, but in which doctrinal formularies are mere formalities or which simply don’t matter. This is post-modern religion in which anything goes, at choice at the cafeteria of ideas. A little of this and a little of that would be so nice! OK, fair enough, and it would seem that liberalism and relativism are the only way to deal with the violence and conflict – either physical or intellectual or both – that pushes our tired-out world to the brink. Then women clergy and gay families should be a part of our daily life, together with coffee-table eucharists and smug chattiness. We are then wrong with being conservatives or holding onto stuff that should have been carried away by the dustbin men a long time ago! A word of warning. One won’t find much tolerance with the liberals and politically-correct crowd. So, we are back to square one.

I think we are all opposed to Christianity being discredited and made into a foolish illusion by division and intestine intolerance. We all find denominationalism to be poisonous. Come and live in a country like France where the only respectable Christians are Roman Catholics and Reformed, and a few ethnic Churches for ethnic people – and anything else is a dangerous cult to be repressed by any possible financial and legal means! This is why my wife has always encouraged me to keep an ethnic character to my ministry – be English and make the most of it – and not be something like a “French Old Catholic” – which is disreputable in the eyes of most people. Over here, the Gallicans are usually associated with uneducated errant clergy who live from the credulity of simple people through doing exorcisms and parallel “medicine” for money. It is a question of image and local sensitivity. In the USA and a lesser extent in England, we have had non-conformity and religious pluralism for centuries, and this is considered as normal. There is a middle ground between Anglo-Saxon denominationalism and the Church-State alliance which is still implicit in Europe. But that is just about impossible to define, let alone bring about in reality!

Could there be some new form of Anglican settlement in the conservative Continuing Churches? Perhaps coherence would demand that the Continuing Churches should dissolve their organisations and tell their people to go back to their owners – the parishes that have their names inscribed in the Baptismal Registers. How dare Continuing Anglicans want to be free not only of Protestantism but also of all the modern liberal developments which are surely the will of God, since they have been adopted by the bishops of the Church and synodal organs of government? Not happy with that? Tough! Become Roman Catholics or Orthodox or stew in your juices. This is what we are up against.

Something realistic has to be possible. What has happened? We get different types of Anglicanism as you have different types of Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism. It’s just a fact, whether we like it or not.

Our friend tells us that we “have” to incorporate Protestantism into our existence as Christians and Churches. After all, Rome itself has taken certain Reformed things into account – the Bible and the liturgy in the language of the people. Emphasis on the community rather than individual piety, monotheism to regulate the more questionable aspects of devotion to Our Lady and the Saints. It is true that things needed to be tidied up in the 1950’s as in the 1530’s, but often things went from one extreme to the other, the Puritans in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as the Novus Ordo iconoclasts of the 1970’s. If this is carried too far, what right have Continuing Anglican and traditionalist groups to exist and dare affirm their independence from the “official institution”? Does not schism breed schism? This is our agony.


Who is going to distinguish between “moderate” Protestantism and full-blown Puritanism (or other phenomena along similar lines) and opposition to any form of Sacramental Mystery or Hellenic philosophy? Are we going to reach agreement? I would be all for trying, but no significant progress has yet been made. It seems for the time being more realistic to consolidate the stability of Anglo-Catholic churches on one side and Evangelical churches on the other, either that or giving up. We are often presented with dilemmas, the most usual of which is that we have to identify and define our Anglican identity in something like a coherent and agreed way – or admit to Rome’s classical position according to which Anglicans are bogus Catholics playing games and deceiving the faithful!

We all have our history, and we do not have the right to discard it. Can we form a new Anglican identity based on the historical models and inspirations? This seems to be the the approach of the Anglican Church in North America, which still seems to be attached to ordaining women even though it refuses the homosexual agenda. Some of the more “comprehensive” continuing Churches are pushing for a relationship with the ACNA, if only they can ditch women priests! There seems to lie the rub. The devil is always in the details. That’s what the Anglican Diaspora thread was all about to begin with.

We need to talk to each other, listen to each other, and respect each other. We need to recognize that, within broad limits, there will be differences of opinion, and even to be thankful for that. Openly discussing our differences in a respectful and gentlemanly manner, with the recognition that none of us are 100% right all the time will go a long way toward bringing unity. Infighting, rigidity and combativeness will only produce division and weaken our common witness.

In the absolute, I can’t agree more. However, it only works when we remain at an unofficial level. On this blog, I have readers from all sorts of places, religious convictions and affiliations to this or that Church. When abstraction is made of those three aspects, we can indeed pray together and find harmony between ourselves. It is when efforts are made towards disturbing that harmony and forcing people to choose when organisations “horse-trade” and negotiate one thing against another, that everything falls down. I read something about this in Soloviev. The Antichrist is born not when Christians pray together but when their Churches attempt to abolish their differences and conform to some alien mould of conformity.

He says it himself. The goal should not be producing a “pure” and monochromatic organization. This would only be possible by means of inquisitions and police states.

The reality seems to be just about the present status quo. I joined the Anglican Catholic Church, not because I believe it to be any “truer” than any other community identifying with Anglicanism, but because I find it to have attained a credible level of stability after all the shenanigans of the 1990’s involving men like Bishop Leslie Hamlett and a long period of recovery. I myself needed an ecclesial mission and continuity in my vocation as a priest. Perhaps had I been living in the north-east United States, I would have remained in my parish throughout the period of turmoil in the TAC, and would have made no change. I live in Europe and I “lost” my Archbishop and the recovery of the TAC in England seems less obvious or generally known – so I had to make a decision. The ACC may seem “sectarian” to some, but I am highly impressed about how Archbishop Haverland has made sense of the mess that prevailed fifteen years ago and how Bishop Damien Mead has taken the reins in England. We are small and marginal, but we are also stable and credible through our integrity. That is a remarkable achievement!

When there is more stability and integrity in all our little communities, I do believe that we will be able to begin cooperating in things like sharing material resources – seminaries, libraries, information – and then churches and services rendered by Bishops without clerical pretensions and ambitions to power. We can begin by getting rid of the negative stuff, the bad memories of the 1980’s and 90’s, the so-called “Phalanx” and having services together – Mattins and Evensong to avoid differences over the rite used for the Eucharist.

I fail to see how it could all become like the Church of England in the 1950’s, because the genie is out of the bottle and the cat has experienced the joy of catching a mouse for the first time. The ideal should be there, but also there should be the ideal of letting Churches get their acts together and reflect on their own identity and common convictions. There seems no crime in that!

* * *


Lest I be seen to be “reinventing the wheel”, I draw your attention to the posting and thread of comments on ACC Makeover. There is no solution to this dispute, and I won’t even try.

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29 Responses to Herding Cats Revisited

  1. Robert says:

    They are indeed lovely cats. What nice pets they make.


  2. Neil Hailstone says:

    I like cats. Some years ago a lovely black example chose to move in with me to avoid sharing a house with 3 dogs. He refused to be repatriated. His owner accepted the situation with good grace and he stayed permanently.’Johnny Puss’ was a much welcome addition to my household.

    Changing the subject. I think it would be helpful in some parts of the Continuing Anglican movement if the 39 Articles could be viewed as a product of it’s time and circumstances 500 years ago. I assume for example that nobody is saying that only a Prince can summon a Council. Some would say that the references to ‘Predestination’ present an incomplete statement of the love and salvation offered by Almighty God.Of course there is much written therein which is still in full agreement with Anglican Catholic / Old Catholic and Conciliar minded Evangelical Anglican faith.

  3. Stephen K says:

    The thing that keeps emerging in posts about churches and the future of Christianity is a dichotomy that I believe is less real or less significant than custom and convenience would have it: this opposition of Protestants to Catholics. That there are historical identities can not be disputed, but in all the posts and opinions that I read, I find it hard to see much more than, when it comes down to it, personal, and subjective choice, preference and desire. We are all “protestant” on some issue, if not the lot, I conclude. Our aspiration may be what we might call “catholic”, but I think there is a sense in which to be a Roman Catholic or Orthodox is just to be a different kind of Protestant. What then are we “protestant” about? Why surely the idolatry of self, and our love affairs with, not the ineffable God but, the church and piety of our predilections and formation.

    Now, in the very saying of this, I acknowledge the sweeping inclusive nature of it, and so of course it needs qualifcation to the extent that yes, we each use some degree of reasoning and discernment to arrive at an intellectually satisfying theory or conclusion about spiritual and faith reality. But so, so much of our religious life is mired in idiosyncratic pre-occupation and emotional needfulness, whence we can, without constant bringing down to earth and genuine, if occasional, efforts to falsify-test our beliefs and motives, descend into religious snobbery and intolerance. I include myself it goes without saying. I have said it before, but it occurs to me again: in the spiritual domaain, I think everything we do and say is tainted. Our ego is a relentless and insescapable master, so much so that I am inclined to think grace does not change the nature of the ego or deliver us from it, but works by ignoring it).

    Father, I think we have to constantly try to step back from the personalities of those we see as either our opponents or simply unbearable, whether liberals (for want of a better term) or conservatives (for want of another), and consider the potential truth-value or other merit in the ideas that confront us – whether it be transubstantiation or women priests. If this is post-modern, then what can I say, but that it helps me see a value and relevance for Christanity and the Christian life that sectarian politics fails, in all its repulsiveness, to do.

  4. ed pacht says:

    I am honored that you chose to discuss my thoughts so fully. Thank you. I’m sure I will have more to say later, but at the moment I’m pressed for time. I do need to point out an aspect that I think you missed. I have very little concern with organizational structures, with jurisdiction and jurisdictions, with church politics and such like. I’m not talking about a centralized ‘super-church’. In spite of the imaginings of Rome, I do not believe such a thing has ever existed or will ever exist. I am talking about unity at the Table of the Lord, about Christians who can differ, but still be at one in bonds of love and fellowship. I recognize that there are places where doctrinal standards and praxis do differ enough to cause real problems. However, THAT DOES NOT JUSTIFY BECOMING CONTENT WITH A LACK OF COMMUNION. Such differences need to be seen as a reason to reach out to one another, to wrestle with the differences, and prayerfully to seek the healing of divisions. I believe the whole Christian enterprise hangs on developing such an attitude. Otherwise we bite and devour one another, and we fall.

    • Ed, I just don’t know what to say. Perhaps the European way is best – keep religion absolutely out of the public sphere and base everything on secularism, and then have Christians talk with each other privately or clandestinely. Were Christians more united under the Roman persecutions, the French Revolution or under Communism?

      Perhaps, to the contrary, Christianity needs compulsion and being the religion of the State. In England, that’s the Church of England with tolerated non-conformism.

      I see your point, but you can’t have intercommunion and “getting together” without bishops and synods officially agreeing to it, and that’s the rub. It always comes back to the official institutions. Perhaps do away with Churches, but then also with priests, sacraments and everything, and resorting to “non-denominational” Christianity. Perhaps that’s the way, but it is something else entirely.

      Perhaps Christianity has had its day – something to think about… What does it really mean to us?

  5. Charles says:

    Hello Fr. Chadwick,
    Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t understand why Anglican identity has to be so complicated. Before I became an Anglican, I was worshiping at a confessional Presbyterian church. That gets me in a lot of hot water around here, but let me say that Presbyterianism made me aware that ‘history’ indeed exists (we had a confession), and, once I began studying a little church history, I felt a moral impossibility about remaining Presbyterian (the horror of the civil war).

    The confessional Presbyterians I left behind were otherwise very serious about their faith, regularly drilled their ‘covenant’ children with catechism, and took discipline and standards of their church (WCF) with utmost seriousness. I have yet to find anything similar among Anglicans, but I can say that maintaining a strong identity (in an otherwise pluralistic environment) with only minimal disagreements is indeed possible. I’ve seen it in conservative confessional churches. Let’s say we have a long way to go.

    Is Anglicanism a confessional faith? Most say ‘no’. But I have to look back to that so-called classical period and wonder why men (high ranking laity and clergy– not regular folk) were asked to give full-subscription to articles, prayer book and crown, and what Laud meant on the title page of His Majesty’s Declaration, “for the avoiding of diversities of opinions and for the establishing of consent touching true religion”. These standards were given for our good, but Anglicans no longer want them, so it seems our problems are more or less self-imposed. Why complain?

    Furthermore, I think we make a mistake to paint a picture where the only possible unity is something canonical. More than ten years ago, the Reverends Toon and Tarsitano were recommending parallel (non-geographic) dioceses and federations as the best way forward. The basic idea is that non-geographic or parallel relations sidestep political issues of bishopric jurisdiction, allowing trust to be nurtured and built up around joint-mission. After trust is established, then common doctrinal statements (like a solemn declaration) can be pursued or explored, etc.. Toon and Tarsitano’s ideas can be read at the bottom two links:
    See Part I and Appendix I: http://www.anglicanbooksrevitalized.us/peter_toons_books_online/Issues/DearPrimates.htm
    And, Tarsitano’s Discussion Paper:

    However, this is a road that ACC flatly rejects. The ACC has it’s own ‘religious settlement’, and that Settlement is the foremost condition for unity talks. This canonical prickliness– along with a general stubbornness regrading geographic territory– constitutes a basic cookie-cutter approach with intra-Anglican ecumenicism that I believe hurts the continuum and has done more to drive churchmen into ACNA, the Ordinariate, or WRO. Anyway, this is my opinion, but I think we have plenty symbols/advice to reform an Anglican church, yet we choose to ignore them despite them being historically bound into our prayer books.

    • As I said before, I can only suggest you take up the matter with Archbishop Haverland. As for the positive ideas of reunion projects, I am sure we are all open to suggestions and new ideas. I am of English origin and have some idea of our State and organs of Church government of the Church of England. Try to reproduce all that as it was in the days when gentlemen wore powdered wigs and wore their swords – and we continuers, especially those living outside England, might end up looking like the mouse who roared!

      One way of another, we have to move on and question our assumptions in more ways than you might think appropriate.

      So if you want to reform the ACC, I wish you the best of British luck!

      • Charles says:

        No. I don’t want to reform ACC. I think the ACC has enshrined a Stahlist version of the Affirmation, and so the whole question of classical Anglicanism inside ACC is a lost cause. I’m more interested in the FACA churches, and seeing these ‘broad church’ jurisdictions rally around either a DHC-UECNA or APA-ACA alliance. I guess the old fight in the continuum was whether the cc flagship should be staunchly anglo-catholic or a broad/comprehensive party. Right now things seem to be moving in the former direction, yet for most continuing church history (say, 1968-2002), the comprehensive party has dominated. In this respect, a solid anglo-catholicism is recent and relatively new. Brockton can be taken as a rebuke by Haverland against the FACA leaders, and I suspect the upcoming FCC conference will be much the same, e.g., rebuking Hewett and Robinson for differing with Haverland’s letter. Surely Haverland feels like he’s herding cats a lot of the time.

      • We really need to get out of each other’s hair. The FACA churches really should get things going – either with triple-decker pulpits, powdered wigs and swords, with swooning ladies in the congregation or fit in with modern American Evangelicalism. If the “classical Anglicans” feel alienated from the ACC, let them join another Church and be happy. And let Anglo-Catholics get on with a restoration of the pre-Reformation norms, the Tridentine liturgy in English or something akin to conservative Old Catholicism. Once everything is stable and people don’t have to walk on knife edges, then perhaps the cats will no longer fear getting their tails crushed by the rocking chairs and get into their baskets!

        Otherwise the discussions will go on forever and no one will ever get anywhere. I know the Gospel imperative is unity, but let each “family” get its act together and be able to believe and teach according to its convictions.

  6. Charles says:

    My apologies. I didn’t get the link to Tarsitano’s Discussion Paper pasted. I first ran across the Paper after Fr. Sam Edwards obliquely quoted it at a FiFNA/ESA lecture. It took me some time to track down the source. Since then, I keep wondering if Tarsitano is really the architectural father of federations like FACA and even ACNA?

    Anyhow, here’s the link:

  7. Charles says:

    I noticed you added a link to ‘ACC Makeover’. Thank you, Fr. Chadwick. My criticisms with ACC is with its foreign policy and pretensions as the “original province”– not the use of Missals or what Haverland has otherwise called the “ACC Settlement of Religion”. The best solution is what you have already stated, and it’s been laid out and expounded upon quite well about ten years ago by Fr. Tarsitano. You are likely already familiar with it, but for those who are not I urge them to see the links above to Tarsitano’s Discussion Paper and his book, Dear Primates. Tarsitano asks Anglicans to pray and do mission work together with no preconceived concoctions. You seem to agree with this, but unfortunately this is not ACC policy. Haverland has stated his opposition to anything less than a full reading of the Affirmation (as understood through the ACC Settlement), and this will likely prove a barrier for broad churchmen (as it has with Robinson),

    ” It is not enough for us to ask for a positive statement of faith from each other under current circumstances. We may accept the Affirmation of Saint Louis nominally while undermining its substance by treating some of its vital points as inessential…The ACC is quite clear on this point. While we are happy to talk with anyone, full communion with our interlocutors will require acceptance of a hard-line similar to the one we have adopted, lest bad theology drive out the good that we have embraced. That is what I mean by theological integrity on the basis of the Affirmation of Saint Louis. For us this issue will quickly come forward in all of our ecumenical conversations ”

    You can read more about the tension between FACA and ACC-aligned churches below. Again, it’s not really over anglo-catholic vs. protestant but how the Affirmation is interpreted. Strangely, there is no consistent reading of the Affirmation even among anglo-catholics. This is why the HCC-AR allegedly left ACC, for example. If the Affirmation is subject to various readings (also see below), then why try to impress it as a symbol for the entire continuum when Solemn Declarations (like the ACA’s 1991 version) have been closer to our North American tradition? Anyway, I do believe you are an orthodox ecumenicist (generous soul), Fr. Chadwick, and this is why I was surprised that you left TAC for ACC. Meanwhile, I hope I haven’t been too ornery about anything. Here are those links I mentioned. They are overall critical of ACC but of its foreign policy rather than doctrine per se.

    Bartonville Factor:
    The Affirmation’s Shorter Version:

    • Thank you for this. Indeed people reading these comments will be tush-tushing the “Alphabet Soup” and saying that people are best in the Canterbury Communion, Rome or the Orthodox. But that is not my opinion, so I’ll leave it to those whose opinion it is.

      “Haverland” is Archbishop Haverland. Using only his surname is almost as rude as putting Archbishop in “” to imply that he is in some way false or bogus. Lacking courtesy in this way will not predispose him to engage in ecumenical dialogue with you!

      I saw some clear suggestions in the ACC Makeover posting that adhesion to Catholic principles, doctrines and practices was erroneous, wrong, against “classical Anglicanism” – regardless of what exact words are used. Archbishop Haverland is referred to without his title, and he is not simply expressing himself as an author but as the Metropolitan of his Church.

      For as long as Protestant-minded people are trashing Anglo-Catholics and applying pressure, there can be no common ground for discussion.

      You still don’t understand why I left the TAC for the ACC. I do not live in the USA, India or South Africa. Perhaps I should have left Christianity altogether! I didn’t primarily join the ACC, but a viable Catholic jurisdiction in England that happens to belong to the ACC. I’m sure you will understand the subtlety.

      The priority now is to batten down the hatches and get each Church and small group of Churches stable and viable. When push comes to shove, I am not entirely against Anglo-Catholicism having been created ex-nihilo and having found its legitimacy all the same through usage. Things can be restored even if they have no historical continuity, the Use of Sarum for example.

      • Charles says:

        Fair enough, Fr. Chadwick. It never occurred to me calling the Archbishop “Haverland” without title was offensive. I will refer to him as Archbishop Haverland or use double-plus signs.

        I’m going back to revise ACC Makeover. If I said resourcing antiquity was an absolute error, that must have been a typo on my part. I promise to double check and correct if that’s the case. What I probably meant, or said, was the Archbishop’s belief that ‘catholicism’ (little ‘c’) ought to normally include modern Roman and Eastern opinions, aka. “Central Tradition”, is off basis with ‘classical Anglicanism’. Fr. Kirby has suggested such is pregnant, yet Kirby+ also says there times when Anglican divinity and standards (classical) ought be ignored.

        Anyway, thanks for the conversation. I learned quite a bit, and I am sorry TAC lacked a presence in Europe or Normandy, etc…. But, why not the CoE(continuing)? They are of the Chamber’s (+Doren) succession though small.

      • But, why not the CoE(continuing)? They are of the Chamber’s (+Doren) succession though small.

        Thanks for the reference, and I looked up this group on Google. They have a nice web site.

        But, you are taking something for granted. I am not a low-church Anglican, a Baptist, a Novus Ordo Roman Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, etc. The choice is endless. Perhaps it didn’t occur to you that I went for what actually corresponds with my inner convictions. 🙂 Something very rare these days, perhaps…

      • Charles says:

        Hello Fr. Chadwick, Another way to speak of Anglican appropriation of modern and/or antique catholicism is by rubrics of ‘Reliable Centuries’ (classical view) vs. Central Tradition (ACC Settlement view). The 16th and 17th century divines (old high church party) did not seek modern consensus with either Rome or the East but reformed the CoE according to a reliable era (first six or seven centuries) for their resourcement. I know it’s not hard or fast, but If anyone knows any quotes that lend confidence beyond that general assessment, please share. Anyway, in no way do I believe a hermeneutic devoid of patristic teaching good or normal to Anglicans. I also understand your position better, Fr. Chadwick, and thanks for your patience.

      • I also understand your position better, Fr. Chadwick

        That is something I think I have always been clear about. 😉 I am fundamentally an Old Catholic in a Northern European culture – that is “medieval” (ie: fully “developed”) Catholicism without the exaggerations of the Papacy since Boniface VIII and reinforced by Pius IX in the nineteenth century.

        I see no identity between what is known of Catholicism of the first six centuries and the 16th century Reformation. I don’t think there has ever been a “reliable era” though some moments were a little less unedifying than others.

      • Dale says:

        Fr Anthony, my own theological/philosophical position mirrors your own; very much an Old Catholic with perhaps, because of origin, a more Anglo-Catholic cultural background; but perhaps a tad bit more Tridentine in inspiration.

      • I have always appreciated the good points of the Council of Trent, in particular coming up with the first ideas against clergy corruption and ignorance. But, the tightening of the screws in Rome involved torture and burning at the stake!

        Renaissance-style liturgy, as portrayed by engravings of pontificals and rituals of the 16th century, is attractive. The lily began to be gilded from the 17th century, and sentimentalism took over from rationalism in the 19th century. We can’t go back in time, but we can take a certain amount of selective inspiration knowing that whatever we do is a “pastiche”. That being said, it doesn’t bother me!

      • Dale says:

        Hello Fr Anthony, I should have been clearer; when I say Tridentine, I really mean it in a liturgical sense; either the Roman rite in its 1570 recession or the Anglican Missal with Tridentine rubrics; although, I readily admit my love for the Sarum tradition as well. But my training has all been according to the Tridentine, and now perhaps I am too old to change!

      • I really don’t mind what other people do. The Anglican Missal in use in the ACC is substantially the Roman rite of Pius V with a few Prayer Book prayers and Scripture readings. I would have no problem using it in a parish where that is the custom – and I too was trained in the Tridentine rite.

        In the situation where I am, it would make no difference what rite I use – Roman, Sarum, Syro Malabar, Novus Ordo, 1662, Baptist Lord’s Supper, whatever. No rite is any “truer” than another. All a particular rite means is a local identity, at least in the eyes of us who know about such things. Disuse anything for 10-20 years or a little more, and it becomes as forgotten as the dinosaurs!

        So, given all that, Sarum gives me the illusion of English identity without Protestantism, even if Sarum was last used in England in the 1990’s by a Roman Catholic priest in an Anglican college chapel with the frowning disapproval of his Archbishop.

        In the end, it seems to be whatever floats our boats!

  8. Dale says:

    I think that because only the Anglo-Catholics were offended enough about the very non-historical, non-Catholic practice of ordaining women that the earlier continuing churches were founded mainly by Anglo-Catholics and to support Catholic principals in face of TEC’s embracing a more liberal Protestant direction; it was also felt vis-a-vis the Affirmation that there had to be some sort of theological foundation that was to be the basis of our Catholicity. The low-church and broad-church had very little interest until the issue of homosexuality became the primary focus of TEC. Hence, one could say that the ACC and the more Anglo-Catholic jurisdictions see their original break with the establishment over issues of theology, whilst the later, newer schisms are more about sex.

    Because of our Anglo-Catholic principals being fundamentally theological, it would be counter-productive, as well as dishonest to simply climb aboard the more liberal, but not the TEC liberal, positions embraced by the sometimes smells-and-bells offered by ACNA et al. simply for the ability to make a bigger denomination, but one without theological principals.

    • Charles says:

      I kind of disagree, Dale. The first continuing churches were ‘protestant’, left in the 1960’s because of what lurked around the corner (mostly bcp revision and feminism), and some clergy/laity left over civil rights. I tend to think the pre-1977 churches were more consistent since civil rights spread egalitarian philosophy. Furthermore, I never quite understood why it took so long for anglo-catholics to depart. Female deacons were approved by TEC , I believe, in 1974.

      • Dale says:

        Yes, that would be Bishop Dees and the Anglican Orthodox Church, mostly Southern, and always very small, and you are correct, they left over political issues dealing with social changes in the South of that time. But, I do not know if I would venture to categorize them as Continuing.

      • Charles says:

        Hi Dale, Yes, the AOC was small, but (according to Bess) the clergy who initially joined Dees (Clavier, George, Adams, Benning) went on to have a much larger impact on continuing Anglicanism. By the mid-1970’s these men left AOC to form broad continuing churches, creating the AEC (American Episcopal) in 1968 and the AECNA (Anglican Episcopal) in 1975. Arguably, the first Congress of Concerned Churchmen resulted in a meltdown with the four bishops consecrated at Denver going their own ways. In 1981 a second congress was held at Spartansburg, merging the AECNA and AEC, making the latter the largest continuing church in America. In comparison, St. Louis was a flash in the pan, its influence lasting between 1977-1979. After 1980, continuing Anglicanism is largely represented by AEC, and this continues past 1981 upon the formation of ACA at the third FCC congress. Thus, ACA was inaugurated as a broad church with the rump-ACC (so-called original province) being the smaller rival. So, between 1968 to 1995 (and really through most of the nineties until 2002) continuing Anglicanism was largely represented by broad churchmen. What I’ve tried to argue here and elsewhere is the ACC’s current prestige as continuum flagship is relatively new, and until now continuers have enjoyed a broad orthodoxy (under solemn declarations) rather than a stricter independent/old catholicism (under the ACC’s settlement). This turn of events has been caused, likely, by the recent implosion of ACA and departure of a large section of the comprehensive party for ACNA.

      • Dale says:

        Hello Charles, but the real issue is one of theology. The earlier movements, almost all Southern and small, Anglican Orthodox, Southern Episcopal Church, left over race, not theology. The most recent, ACNA, over sex. Only the more Anglo-Catholic groups left over theology. For the earlier movements and the most recent, there is no actual problem with the TEC in matters of faith, and the most recent have absolutely no problem with the modernist revisions of the liturgy; they only dislike either the racial or the sexual positions taken by TEC. I prefer to keep away.

      • ed pacht says:

        Wait a minute, Dale. I’m hearing some drastic and startling oversimplification here. For instance, it may be that the last straw that produced ACNA was the sexual issue, but the roots are deeply theological. I don’t at all like the stance of those who try to justify WO, and I have a lot of significant theological differences with many in that body, but to say their difference with ECUSA is not in theology is to be awfully blind. Just compare what is taught and believed in any ACNA parish with what is being taught and believed in official Episcopal circles. It doesn’t seem like the same religion at all. Even with all their tribe of female ministers, all their defective liturgies, and all their other rather dicey teachings, ACNA is far closer to me as an Anglo-Catholic than they are to the Episcopal church. I’ve long been puzzled that they hung on so long — the theological gulf was already so great — and I’m perplexed that a comparatively small difference over gay clergy (who have, however wrong it might be, always been with us) should be the final spark — but it was not the cause — the break was inevitable.

      • Dale says:

        Hi Ed, I suspect that for reasons of brevity, we all simplify, well, perhaps I should say, I simplify. But I have attended, once, and never again, our local ACNA, and I found it almost to be a carbon copy of the local TEC parish, actually word-for-word; so if there are deeply held theological differences it was not representative in either the gender of the clergy, both female, or the liturgy, both using rite II of the 1979 BCP. Perhaps I was missing something?

  9. ed pacht says:

    Did you listen to the words of the sermon? Did you inquire as to what was taught in Sunday School? Did you speak with the clergy about what the differences were? Those women, uncatholic though their role may be, certainly have a great deal more than sexuality as reasons for not staying in ECUSA. As I said, the gay thing turned out to be the last straw, but the divisions were already deep, and it certainly would have been something else.

    Rite 2 can be interpreted in a p[erfectly orthodox fashion — U should know, as I once did so take it. The problem is that it contains enough “weasel words” that it can also be taken in a drastically heterodox fashion.

    • Dale says:

      The liturgy was so dreadful that I left; lex orandi lex credendi. I do not care what their problems with the post 1982 TEC was, they do NOT hold the Catholic Faith or Practice. To make any supposed allowance for the ordination of women is impossible. What was she going to say: the Apostle Paul was wrong about the place of women in the church, but correct about those dreadful homosexuals?

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