November 6, 2010

Advice to Anglo-Papalists

concerning the Ordinariate or other Tiber-Swimming Apparatus

About a hundred years ago, an Episcopal Bishop gave the following advice to the fiercely Anglo-Papalist Episcopal priest Fr Paul Wattson, founder of Graymoor*:
You accept the whole teaching of the Roman Church save the single detail of the repudiation of Anglican Orders. . . This proposition is an impossible one for a clergyman of our Church. My advice is that, in the interest of single-minded honesty and devotion to duty, you make the choice between the two Churches. You cannot serve either the Papal Church or the Protestant Episcopal Church well if you try to serve both at the same time. Either give up belief in a divinely established Papacy and in Roman dogmas. . . as one must do who is a consistent and contented Anglican; or else give up Anglican Orders, make an unqualified submission to the Latin Church, and be a good Roman Catholic. I have no hesitation in saying that if I were in your position I should choose the latter alternative. This would seem to be the natural outcome of the line of development you have adopted.
Nothing has changed, and this advice applies to any and all Anglo-Papalists. It is simply absurd to say one believes in papal supremacy but not to accept a definitive pronouncement from that Office which concerns oneself intimately and explicitly.

The Episcopal Bishop (Kinsman of Delaware), interestingly enough, eventually did follow that course, renounced his orders, and died a Roman Catholic layman in 1944.

Tobias Stanislas Haller, with a tip of the hat to Mimi
whose post on Bishops Broadbent and Buchanan prompted this thought

*See my paper on Fr Wattson and Dr William Reed Huntington, for more on the fascinating characters involved, and the very different understandings of church unity they espoused.


Brother David said...

How does one do that, decide that your entire service to Christ and to Christ's church was a sham, completely null and void?

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

I don't know, Dahveed. It is a mystery to me. I do know that many Anglo-Papalists live in a kind of dream world, a kind of disconnected world in which desires and devices obscure reality. Many of them are also closeted gays, which adds another level to the toleration of cognitive dissonance and illusions.

Perhaps it is like disillusionment with one's beloved? I can only guess how hard it is to be disillusioned by Anglicanism and reenchanted by Rome. From my perspective it is moving from one delusion to another. Not that all Anglicanism is delusional (some of it is quite hard-headed) but the Anglo-Papalist model, as in the case of Fr Wattson, is just untenable (as the Bishop told him). There is no earthly (or heavenly) reason I can see for believing the claims of Rome. But I'm reminded of the old news item from an RC newspaper stating that 'Lady Upperlip haa chosen to abandon the errors of the Church of England to embrace those of Rome.'

JCF said...

As someone who frequently watches EWTN's convert show, "The Journey Home", Popoid converts of all flavors (inc. former Episcopal priests---who refer to themselves as formerly having been "Episcopal ministers") attribute their non-Popoid time as preparation for the (Popoid) Truth, for which they are grateful.

I simply don't understand how they can accept Popoid stipulations as to history (for which there is no empirical evidence), when without historical evidence, Popoid claims can be seen as the pure (subjective) dogma it is. (The Magisterium set over and AGAINST Scripture, Tradition and Reason).

...then again, I think historical claims have NOTHING to do w/ it.

Our schismatics have the same sexual ethics as the Popoids. That's the cart which is pulling the horse. All the rest is gravy.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

JCF, thanks. I think you are right about much of what is driving the movement. There is, at base, a common seeking after certainty -- whether it comes from a "biblical fundamentalism" or "magisterium" -- which doesn't want to live with the inherent messiness of doctrinal minimalism, local option and epistemic humility that lies at the heart of Anglicanism. Those who "want all the answers" will not be happy in a church that, on many matters, is still asking questions.

Closed said...

I've read your essay before, but good to do so again. "Episcopal Commons," rather than a putdown, describes very well exactly how I understand catholicity, and it seems, so roomy in scope, leaving the lines drawn between Church and our social worlds blurry, and recognizing that the Word and Spirit are always at work in both.

Brother David said...

Those making the journey may want to take into account other factors as well.

There is a TAC parish in Arkansas making a big deal that they are going to become an ordinariate. Personally they may want to get a hearty affirmative from Mission Control first because they have a whole 28 members! I cannot see any Roman bishop diocesan, who would be ultimately in charge, willing to pump any resources into that dehydrated carcass. They are closing Roman parishes much larger than that.

Brother David said...

Also, there are rumors in the UK that the winged bishops are resigning from the CoE tomorrow to prepare for their priestly Roman ordinations early next year.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Indeed, Christopher, I think you can see why I favor the roomy open but bounded pasture to the pyramidal structure offered as the alternative. But some prefer pyramids, and if that's what they want, they are free to have it. But consider Sarastro's Temple (from Magic Flute) particularly as described by Gary McGath:

The virtues which Sarastro's temple cites are courage, willingness to accept any assigned task, silence when commanded, and intense distrust of women. The Temple of Wisdom is a frightening sort of organization: its members revere their leader, require newcomers to undergo dangerous initiation rituals, subject people to humiliating psychological manipulation, kidnap people for their own good, and instill strong distrust of those outside (particularly women).

Sound familiar? Ironically, M.F. is supposedly about the antipathetic Freemasons, but after all it's hard to tell the difference. Cue ++KJS as Queen of the Night (in the eyes of her detractors) vs Benedetto 16 as Sarastro.

Dahveed, the practical realities will set in soon, no doubt.

Ecgbert said...

Oh, yes, Anglo-Papalism is untenable. In the Anglo-Catholic movement we thought we were defending the true version of Anglicanism but of course we were wrong. Fr Wattson saw that early on and submitted.

'Popoid'? I believe in freedom of expression but please.

Re: null and void, Rome acknowledges Anglicans as Christians and doesn't teach as doctrine that there was no grace in sincere Anglo-Catholic priests' ministries before their conversions. So I don't see the problem.

JCF can hate Rome all he wants but I defend the law that defends your and their right to exist. (And I go one further and think the state should butt out of marriage and leave it up to the different faiths etc. Want same-sex marriage? Go right ahead!) As long as you obey that law, we're fine.

Marshall Scott said...

Ah, Dahveed, fret not over the TAC congregation. Remember first that the TAC churches were ostensibly the occasion for the Ordinariates in the first place, all the excitement among Anglo-Papalists notwithstanding. And, while there are closures, even our Roman siblings maintain for their own reasons small congregations - for a time.

For under the provisions of the Ordinariate these congregations are still required to provide their own expenses, including support of clergy. At the same time, there is no security for the future of an Anglican Ordinariate Rite, and every expectation that with time these will all become Latin Rite Catholics. From what little I've heard, the TAC folks have accepted that. I'm not so sure about the C of E Anglo-Papalists who are now making their statements.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

YF, simply because you found the Anglo-Catholic movement wanting doesn't mean all agree with you. Wattson was an Anglo-Papalist, a very different sort of critter.

What's wrong with the neologism "popoid." The suffix -oid is perfectly accurate for something which is similar to, or seems to be, something else.

Have you actually read Leo's Bull? I direct your attention especially to paragraphs 38-39.

I don't see JCF saying the RCC should cease to exist -- but it is no more above critique than Anglicanism. As to you notion that the "state should butt out of marriage" you will find many who agree; but the fact remains that ecclesiastical marriage was the novelty, and civil marriage the rule, in almost every human culture. That the state should not interfere, one way or the other, in religious matters, I take as something on which we agree.

Marshall, I think the American situation is not the same as the English. Their Anglo-Catholics are more numerously or noisily hostile to women's ordination; while American Anglo-Catholicism has always preserved a strain of progressives.

WSJM said...

Marshall writes: "At the same time, there is no security for the future of an Anglican Ordinariate Rite, and every expectation that with time these will all become Latin Rite Catholics." I was under the impression that the more extreme Anglo-Catholics in England (Mascall's "Ultra-Catholics") have already been Latin Rite Catholics for a long time. Some of the folks who join the Ordinariate may be very upset when they discover that the Pope expects them to use significant portions of the Book of Common Prayer.

I remember a sign in the sacristy at Walsingham (back in 1961!) that said something like: "Priests are requested not to say Mass in Latin as it may upset the congregation."

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Bill, I think you are right at least about some of the English A-Cs. They've been using the Missal in English (or Latin!) for a long time, and will find it odd to return to the BCP.

I was once startled in a sacristy, when serving as an acolyte, to have the priest unexpectedly begin the vesting prayers in Latin. What little I remembered of the responses was painfully inadequate, and he was forced to lapse into English!

Brother David said...

Yes, that lapsing into English gets you every time!