The blog The Anglo-Catholic is gone and replaced with some kind of generic page. WordPress, which I am using for this blog, is free and advertising is relatively unobtrusive, but perhaps blogs get taken down when they have rotted on the hook for too long. Its moderator Christian Campbell may bring it back for the sake of the archives covering the process that led many continuing Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church via the Ordinariates. I doubt it.
The last time I took any interest in this blog was at the end of August 2012 when I wrote The Anglo-Catholic. Fr Smuts in South Africa was still active on his blog, another one that is in long-term hiatus. I was a contributor on Campbell’s blog until I took things into my own hands against a certain narrative about Anglicanorum coetibus in the English Catholic blog, which I myself closed down in early 2012. I was not yet ready to believe that Archbishop Hepworth was not a major player in the process and that he was to be black-balled, deep-sixed, call it what you want. During that time, I had a brief stint of being interviewed on the French traditionalist radio and speaking at conferences, until I too ceased to exist. The memories are fading. The death of The Anglo-Catholic has seemed to close the lid.
I was a priest of Archbishop Hepworth’s Patrimony of the Primate for the reason that I was living in a country where there was no TAC diocese. The Archbishop had taken me on in August 2005 from having spent years in the netherworld of RC traditionalism. I was using a static website as a primitive kind of blog and posted a series of postings, and this seemed to attract some attention in America.
In my earlier article, I wrote this about The Anglo-Catholic:
I was first contacted by Christian Campbell on 29th November 2009 to ask me whether I would become a contributor on this promising new blog. I accepted, and contributed a number of articles – which are still there. Finally, I discovered that the blog had its own “orthodoxy” and “police”, and my increasing resistance to the pensée unique ended with a rupture. I set up my own blog called the English Catholic, and this met with my expulsion from the Anglo-Catholic in the last days of August 2010.
It now seems to be common knowledge that Christian Campbell went off on his own tangent after his reception into the Roman Catholic Church. I found out very early on that he was going to a chapel of the Society of St Pius X and had adopted the traditionalist ideology. Fair enough, but hardly representative of the Rome-ward movement of “groups of Anglicans”. This culminated with polemics concerning the use of the pre-conciliar Roman rite in the ordinariates, whether in Latin or the Cranmerese English form in the English Missal. This and other issues caused Deborah Gyapong to pull out, since this kind of discussion would tend to discredit other Anglicans on their way over, but less concerned about the exact rite to be used. I have been quite surprised by some things CCCC put on his Facebook page, but they are entirely irrelevant to me and concern only his personal life.
Now, Fr Christopher Phillips has pulled out too, and Campbell himself has announced an indefinite hiatus. We might suppose that Monsignor Steenson has told those who are now Roman Catholics that ordinariate business is private and not to be discussed on blogs. That seems to ring with my recent article on secrecy, but I am not myself concerned with any Ordinariate anywhere. I will not speculate, but with no discussion and no coverage of any kind, the internal business of a “private club” is irrelevant to nearly all of us, as would be the yearly accounts of some provincial golf club in England.
There is an old quip about gentlemen’s clubs in London – that you know a member has died when there is an ungodly stench coming from behind the newspaper!
Fr Phillips, as a priest under jurisdiction, would have seen the need not to provoke problems for himself or his ministry. Similarly, Deborah Gyapong is a respected journalist and maintains excellent relations with the Roman Catholic Church in Canada. It is a question of professional integrity and keeping squeaky clean.
Sic transit gloria mundi. The Anglo-Catholic met a less radical demise than my English Catholic blog which I deleted. Campbell has his personal blog on which he writes about the things that interest him. I do the same thing here, but on different subjects and from another perspective. Should I say Good riddance? I do not take pleasure about negative things, but just find it sad. I have no feelings of “getting even” – I’m just not that kind of person. At the same time, time marches forward, and the religious world is not the same as it was in the heady days of 2007 and 2009.
In 2007 and November 2009, there was an objective to work towards. That is now irrelevant to all but a very few, and the future of the remnant TAC remains uncertain in spite of the rhetoric of the early months of 2012. Archbishop Hepworth wanted to keep something going for the clergy of the erstwhile Patrimony of the Primate who were still waiting for word from the ordinariates or had been rejected. Without a clear justification for any kind of structure, it seems hard to imagine that idea going anywhere. The storm clouds and gloom seem to gather as, for many of us, Godot never arrived and the batteries ran out.
The moral of all this is that Campbell and I made the same mistake, continuing to gnaw on the same bone year after year. My English Catholic blog had become too concerned with the ordinariate question and a continuing coverage of what was happening to Archbishop Hepworth. I ended up buckling under the nastiness of many of the comments and the same “political correctness” that dominated the Anglo-Catholic. This blog was designed to be more educational and intellectual, though I have often allowed myself to discuss the old problem.
The statistics page show that I get many more times read when I discuss the old problem than when I write about other subjects. I am not “in business” to attract attention or advertise myself. This should be a lesson to us all. Christian Campbell had something more gimmicky and full of gadgets than I ever thought about. He was constantly asking for donations. My blogs have never cost me anything and I have never collected a penny. He has his problems and I have mine.
The Anglo-Catholic looks like staying available for the sake of its archives, which can be consulted. My old articles are still there, as are many others of intellectual and historical interest. No Schadenfreude – but life has to go on. The lesson the dinosaurs bequeathed us is that we adapt or go by the wayside!
It all seems to be gone. I kept the archives of my English Catholic blog and I still cringe when I read some of the “troll” comments. I don’t blame them because I was pushing my own square pegs into round holes. It is the law of Karma! The dead flesh has rotted away and all that is left is a pile of musty shrouds in the darkness.
This blog took a different turn as I had to embark on a more introspective approach. I lived in a world to which I did not belong, with which I shared only an interest in liturgical life and rites. I seem to be about the only one left. Even Deborah Gyapong only occasionally adds something to her blog, usually involving family photos and unfamiliar faces in liturgical vestments in that nice little former TAC church in Canada. She keeps up with the same quiet optimism. Where else would she go? Triumphalism evaporated with the election of Pope Francis, and in many ways, those poor folk are reliving the long John Paul II and Paul VI years after the brief ray of light and hope.
The obituary seems now to be written, the undertakers have pulled their ropes out of the grave, removed the wooden planks and the little man in the mechanical digger can now fill in the grave now that the mourners have gone. I moved on long ago, not only by joining the ACC but also by my voyage of self-discovery over the years.