Thursday, September 17, 2015

THE DEADLY COMBINATION OF PROGRESSIVISM (LIBERALISM) AND CONGREGATIONALISM IN THE ANGLICAN/EPISCOPAL COMMUNION

And is the same things happening to the Catholic Church today, that in 20 years will be even more dysfunctional that the Anglican Communion is today? Read Antonio Socci's article by pressing the headline below.
Here's a teaser:

Yet, if Cardinal Muller himself, Head of the former Holy Office, spoke recently of a possible schism referring to the Synod, there is fear of it even more so after the 8th of September. There have already been signs of some very strident quarrels with some important cardinals at Santa Marta over the past few days. And the Synod promises to be explosive.

 

Socci: With Papally-Mandated "Catholic Divorce" destroying a Sacrament, Schism Looms Large on the Catholic Horizon










At one time in this country in the 1960's Episcopalians numbered about 4 million members. While that was a small number, to be sure, they were potent as many Episcopalians were of the privileged class and held high office in various governments.

Today, their number has dwindled to about 1.2 million and no telling how many of that total are actually practicing their faith, whatever that means today for Episcopalians.

You would think that this would tell Catholics that liberalism and Christianity do not mix well at all. It was a deadly combination for the liberal Protestants of the 19th Century which led to the Fundamentalist movement in the early 20th century, so disgusted were many orthodox Protestants with the deconstruction of historic Christianity in Protestantism by those involved in the religious enlightenment of that period. Liberal Protestantism as proven by the Episcopal Church is an toothless beast.

And the toothless Catholics who had their heyday in the 1960's and 70's like sterile grandmothers and grandfathers, continue to invoke the Carma of that period of post-Vatican II spirit of liberalism a la the failed Protestant variety as the way forward for the Catholic Church today. Think of the those enamored with  Fr. Hans Kung, the most radical of amongst those of that period and to a lesser extent, Cardinal Walter Kasper who continues on as the energizer rabbit well into his 80's.

Could the same thing happen to the Catholic Church? I don't know. Catholicism is not congregational as the Anglican Communion's dioceses and parishes are and there is no real obedience pledged by the bishops in this communion to the Archbishop of Canterbury who is merely a figurehead.

But there could well be an authentic schism coming to the Catholic Church (and by this I mean the SSPX are not in an authentic schism as they hold to historic Catholicism's doctrines and dogmas completely, although their attitudes about the current popes after Vatican II and of Vatican II itself is far from traditional). The schism will be the likes of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century and will come from the same spot, Germany and those countries around it. It will be based upon the Anglican model of doing things in such a dysfunction way, as Archbishop Welby puts it in the article below and they will drag many Catholics throughout the world with them.  

But the inevitable is about to happen to the Anglican Communion thanks to all the silliness their liberal leaders have created since the 1960's and much of that, believe it or not, as a result of our Vatican II!

Read for yourselves:

Archbishop of Canterbury plans to loosen ties of divided Anglican communion

  • Justin Welby to suggest looser organisation of worldwide body
  • New group would no longer be linked by a common doctrine
  • Liberal US and conservative African churches argued over sexuality


Andrew Brown


The archbishop of Canterbury is proposing to effectively dissolve the fractious and bitterly divided worldwide Anglican communion and replace it with a much looser grouping.

Justin Welby has summoned all the 38 leaders of the national churches of the Anglican communion to a meeting in Canterbury next January, where he will propose that the communion be reorganised as a group of churches that are all linked to Canterbury but no longer necessarily to each other.




He believes that the communion – notionally the third largest Christian body in the world with 80 million members, after the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches - has become impossible to hold together due to arguments over power and sexuality and has, for the past 20 years, been completely dysfunctional.

A Lambeth Palace source said the archbishop felt he could not leave his eventual successor in the same position of “spending vast amounts of time trying to keep people in the boat and never actually rowing it anywhere”.

Welby believes that his proposal will allow him to maintain relations with the liberal churches of north America, which recognise and encourage gay marriage, and the African churches, led by Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria, who are agitating for the recriminalisation of all homosexual activity in their countries. Both will be able to call themselves “Anglican” but there will no longer be any pretence that this involves a common discipline or doctrine.

Asked whether this represented, if not a divorce, a legal separation, a Lambeth source said: “It’s more like sleeping in separate bedrooms.”

Instead, they may be able to cooperate on matters such as climate change and inter-religious violence, which are desperately important to many of the poorer churches. As well as the obvious religious tensions in the Middle East, 200 churches in south India were burned to the ground by Hindu extremists last year. These issues seem more urgent to the archbishop than the interminable wrangling about sexuality.

Welby’s decision represents a complete abandonment of the strategy pursued by his immediate predecessors, Rowan Williams and George Carey, both of whom were committed to getting the liberals and conservatives to work together globally.

The archbishop is determined to rescue what he can from the schism over sexuality. He spent much of his life before becoming a bishop working on missions of reconciliation in countries including Nigeria, and values very highly the unofficial low-level contacts between churches in different countries.
But the feuding over sexuality, which started in the US in the mid-90s, has become completely unmanageable.

All the Anglican bishops around the world are meant to meet up every 10 years in Canterbury at the Lambeth conference. Nearly 250 out of 800 stayed away from the last meeting, in 2008, in protest against the supposed liberalism of Williams. Welby has already announced the indefinite postponement of the next conference.

Welby’s decision is a gamble with high stakes. If the African conservatives, grouped in an organisation called Gafcon, decide to withdraw altogether, they will put pressure on English conservative evangelical churches to withdraw formally from the Church of England and align themselves with Gafcon.

Some smaller groupings have already done this. But the archbishop is betting that the conservatives, some of whom are personal friends with tight links to the church network where he was nourished, will draw back from churches such as Uganda’s, which support laws that would reintroduce the death penalty for gay sex.

A large, formal schism has already taken place in the US. The Anglican churches of Nigeria, Rwanda, and Kenya have all established what they call missionary congregations in America to take worshippers away from the liberal churches. American conservatives have been given jobs in the new organisations and have in some cases written the speeches and manifestos for the African conservative groups.

In his most controversial proposal, Welby will ask the American conservative grouping Acna, which has been locked in bitter lawsuits over church property with the mainstream liberal American Anglican church grouping, TEC, to attend the meeting in January, but not as a full member.
If the meeting goes well – and Lambeth sources put the possibility of catastrophic failure at about 25% – Welby appears determined to foster practical cooperation among the churches that are still speaking to him, if not to each other.

He hopes to hold a meeting of the new body in 2020. One member of his staff said: “If so few people want to come that we could hold it in a telephone box, fine, we’ll hold it in a telephone box.”

The Rev Andrew Symes, of Anglican Mainstream, the largest conservative grouping organisation in the Church of England, said: “There is a difference between an institutional unity and a confessional unity. It is not just the sexuality thing. There are underlying differences about our understanding of the bible and of God.

“Archbishop Welby is trying to square the circle. He can’t bring the thing together. This will strengthen the resolve of Gafcon to keep on the journey that they’re on.”

The Rev Sally Hitchiner, one of the most prominent gay members of clergy in the church, said: “The churches now have the opportunity to relate like grownup siblings. This is a positive move for all sorts of reasons. We can’t hold together from a place like England – where an archbishop of Canterbury could be in a gay marriage, possibly in my lifetime – to somewhere like Uganda, where they want to imprison people for gay sex.”

The bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, said: “He can’t be planning to break the thing up because there’s nothing there to break up. It is all independent churches.”

23 comments:

Calvin of Hippo said...

Why would anyone spend the time to write such a long article about the Episcopalian church....long a bad joke even in protestant circles. But, you may be looking at the Catholic Church of the future...

Anonymous said...

Who cares about a bunch of Protestants. Let them do what they want to do. I want to know why we have a pope who is causing this confusion and who thinks it is his right to change Church teaching instead of clearly teaching and defending the Catholic Faith.

Anonymous said...

The future of both Anglicanism and Catholicism really is in Africa, where adherents of both faiths resist "western imperialism", whether the far-left Episcopalians like their current woman presiding bishop or Cardinal Muller. Not much hope really in the Northern Hemisphere.

A former Anglican clergyman I knew years ago, who later converted to the Orthodox Church, wrote that it should have been apparent that the "Elizabethan compromise" (referring to Elizabeth the First, not of course the current queen of Britain), where high church, low church and broad church tendencies were blended in, may have been politically brilliant, but was also spiritually deadly. In the old days of the Episcopal Church, the debate was centered more on liturgy---should we wear Eucharistic vestments, and for that matter, should we celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday, the first and third Sunday, the first Sunday of the month, and have Morning Prayer the other Sundays? These days, the divide is not so much liturgical (most Episcopal parishes, at least up here in Atlanta, celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday, and just as Catholics would with the alb, stole and chasuble), but the moral issues. And the more liberal they get, the more members they lose.

TJM said...

Anglicanism began with a very, very evil man, Henry VIII. What possible good can there be in a religion which began in this way? Henry even has his 70 year old godmother, the Countess of Salisbury, beheaded, because she could not accept that her godson was head of the Church. Modern Anglicanism has morphed into a social welfare society with a clergy who are nothing more than glorified social workers. Those Anglican clergy who have wised up have "crossed the Tiber."

Lefebvrian said...

There is little question that Henry VIII would receive his annulment under the new guidelines.

And now the Catholic Church is just as much a hodge-podge of Low Church and High Church as the Anglicans. And Catholics support liberal causes in the West with the same frequency as the Protestant Anglicans and Episcopalians.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I know that there is some consternation in high and low places concerning the pope's new direction on annulments. But I have to say that the annulment procedure has we have it now is very frustrating for many priest, including myself, in terms of how long it can take and for what purpose? If the marriage is nullable, then nullify it once the evidence is gathered and if not, say so clearly. The clearly say so if often lacking leaving many in limbo quite literally.

Some cases where there are no witness either because they have all died, or no one really knows the dysfunction in the courtship, are very frustrating and I think the pope is wise to leave these to the bishop if testimony can be received from the spouses involved.

I am not at all alarmed by what the pope has done and in fact welcome it. In the case of Henry the 8th, we don't have kings being crowned by popes and popes directly dealing with monarchs and their marriages that need to be annulled as was the case with Henry the 8th who as I recall got previous annulments from the pope at the time that could be considered "interesting."

Lefebvrian said...

Father, it does not surprise me that you are not troubled by what the pope has done with regard to annulments. I don't think there is anything that the pope could do that would trouble you.

As for the rest of us, we can see this for what it is. Clearly, the presumption of validity has been exchanged for either a neutral presumption or a presumption of invalidity. The fact that time was taken to sort out the truth concerning validity or nullity might have caused you frustration as a priest. It should be more troubling, however, that the procedural safeguards have been set aside, which could result in less accuracy in the determination.

If there are cases where there are no witnesses, then the marriage should not be nullified. Life isn't about reducing our frustration -- it is about knowing, loving, and serving God.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

L, this is were rigidity causes people to derail and become less than Catholic with the papacy, no matter the pope. The only single person in the Church that can loose and bind is the pope and what he has done is within his authority to legislate. Legislation always opens itself up to abuse to include popes who appoint bad bishops or make bad administrative decisions.

But only the pope is the pope in the Catholic Church with specific privileges not accorded to any other person in the Church be he a bishop, priest, religious, deacon or lay person.

If bishops follow the new canons and appropriately adjudicate marriage cases to be sure to state clearly if a marriage can't be annulled, than more power to the bishop. Can a bishop abuse his canonical authority, yes, always has been the case even in pre-Vatican II times.

Lefebvrian said...

Father, taking issue with the pope's use of his authority is not the same as denying his authority as such. It is not somehow "un-Catholic" to recognize that the pope has made a huge prudential mistake in loosening the annulment procedures, which will necessarily introduce a greater rate of error in the process.

Just because something is within someone's authority does not ipso facto make their use of the authority laudable or even correct. To suggest otherwise would be a sort of papal positivism that would lead to ridiculous results -- either your brand of ultramontanism on the one hand or sedevacantism on the other. In either case, the error is really one of adopting the Protestant caricature of the papacy as an autocratic positivist legislator dictating God's wishes to a meager and susceptible people. In other words, it is ludicrous and dangerous for you to believe and espouse publicly this false notion of authority and the proper response to its abuse.

The correct response to an abuse of papal authority is to resist it, especially when it is so clearly aimed at undermining the very words of our Lord, to whom we owe all allegiance and who possesses the fullness of authority in Heaven and on earth.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, Henry's Church of England initially otherwise kept 99% of the Catholic ritual and belief---like Mass in Latin, communion in only one species. Years later, under Elizabeth the first, the Church of England developed more a Protestant vision, like purging of Eucharistic vestments, making the Eucharist more a memorial and not a sacrifice, abolition of feast days and the like. And even today, the appointment of an Archbishop of Canterbury alternates between the "high" and "low" wings of the Church (though even today, the "low ones", like the current one, still typically dress up in the full regalia, miter and cope/chasuble). Vatican 2 also had an impact on Anglicanism--many Anglican/Episcopal churches these days have moved to altar to the middle (no longer using the old back ones), though still retaining altar rails.

Mark Thomas said...

-- Father Allan J. McDonald said..."I am not at all alarmed by what the pope has done and in fact welcome it."

-- Lefebvrian said..."Father, it does not surprise me that you are not troubled by what the pope has done with regard to annulments. I don't think there is anything that the pope could do that would trouble you.

"As for the rest of us, we can see this for what it is. Clearly, the presumption of validity has been exchanged for either a neutral presumption or a presumption of invalidity.

"Father, taking issue with the pope's use of his authority is not the same as denying his authority as such. It is not somehow "un-Catholic" to recognize that the pope has made a huge prudential mistake in loosening the annulment procedures, which will necessarily introduce a greater rate of error in the process."

==============================================================================

Only time will tell as to whether His Holiness Pope Francis' reform of the annulment process proved successful.

I appreciate many points that Father McDonald offered as to why he believes that Pope Francis' reforms in question appear reasonable.

Father, I question respectfully the following point: How confident should we be with the notion that as long as bishops adhere to Pope Francis' reforms, then all will be fine with the annulment process?

What if Lefebvrian is correct in that the reform is flawed? If the reform is flawed from the beginning, then following Pope Francis' reform to the letter would prove worthless. The problems associated today with the annulment process would remain tomorrow.

Again, I realize that time will tell as to whether Pope Francis' reform in question proved successful. But I wonder about Pope Francis' reform in the following sense.

Throughout the Vatican II Era, how many major reforms or initiatives from our Popes have proved successful? Other than Pope Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum and his desire to recognize the TLM's rightful place within Holy Mother Church, I am unable to recall an additional major Papal major reform/initiative that has worked out well for the Church.

I realize that Pope Francis isn't Pope Venerable Paul VI or this or that Pope. He is Pope Francis. I realize that his reform of the annulment process isn't this or that Pope's reform.

But I take into account the general direction during the past 50 or years in which our Popes have steered the Church. Therefore, I understand as to why somebody would greet with caution Pope Francis' major reform of the annulment process.

I realize that you disagree with the notion that Pope Francis' reform in question is flawed.

Father McDonald, I hope that you are correct.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Geoffrey Fitz Peter said...

“Why would anyone spend the time to write such a long article about the Episcopalian church…?”

Because the Church teaches: “The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council.” (Unitatis Redintegratio, 1)

“Who cares about a bunch of Protestants.” (sic)
Because, “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. (Gaudium et Spes, 1)

“There is little question that Henry VIII would receive his annulment under the new guidelines.”

Except for the small matter of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s forces controlling Rome and Clement VII. Charles V, Catherine of Aragon’s nephew, did NOT want Clement to grant the annulment – and Charles’ got what he insisted upon.
Don't underestimate the overwhelming and controlling desire of a 16th century pope to hold on to his temporal powers...

Calvin of Hippo said...

Fitz Peter, re: restoration of unity among all Christians..." Yeah, at what cost?

Anonymous said...

I would not say that Anglicanism is "congregational"---that suggests there is no higher authority over the local parish. If that were the case, you would see even more parishes leaving the Episcopal Church. Savannah (the city, not the diocese) saw a big battle the previous decade when Christ Church, the mother church of the Episcopal tradition in Georgia, bolted--or attempted to do so---from the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia. The bishop at that time, Henry Louttit Jr,. took the renegades to court, and the Georgia court system (either the Supreme Court or Court of Appeals, forget which one) upheld the diocesan claim to the parish. The renegades joined some breakaway Anglican church, while those remaining loyal to the diocese got back their church on Johnson Square.

But, Anglican parishes do have a lot of sway, for instance hiring their own clergy, with the bishop's powers limited in part by the diocesan constitution and canons (not only are their canons and constitutional clauses in the national church, but also at their diocesan level).

Catholics should not be too smug though over the Anglican troubles. It isn't as if the Catholic Church is thriving in western Europe, and certainly there are countless ex-Catholics in the United States.

Calvin of Hippo said...

Hey, we're getting there...Obama has invited a gay bishop, a transvestite, and a dissident nun to the papal meeting. Ain't this a hoot? I swear, there is no better comedy anywhere than the Obama Administration and this Papacy. Any criticism or ridicule of protestantism by the Catholic Church in the future will be absolutely laughable.

Obama to Pope: "Hey, Papa, I wanna' make the Church more liberal and progressive."

Pope to Obama: "Ok, but how will we be able to tell?"

Geoffrey Fitz Peter said...

Calvin of Hippo - Probably at the cost of having "Catholics" like you go screaming into the night, never to be heard from again.

In other words, at little cost.

Lefebvrian said...

One can find everything outside the Catholic Church... Except salvation

Christian unity already exists, and it is found in the Catholic Church. Making the human element of the Church just as ridiculous as the Episcoplians and other Protestants is not the way to convince people to enter into the unity of the Church.

John Nolan said...

Henry VIII could have got his annulment had he chosen to go down the Canon Law route and argued that Julius II's Bull, which left open the question as to whether or not Catherine's marriage to Arthur was consummated, was defective. As a matter of fact it was, as Wolsey had discovered. Instead Henry tried to use Scripture to argue that the pope (and by extension the Church) did not have the competence to declare nullity in any circumstances. No pope could have accepted this and so Clement VII's reliance on Charles V is a red herring. Furthermore it had to assume that the marriage was indeed consummated, something Catherine herself strenuously denied.

In the USA annulment procedures were scandalously lax from 1970 until the mid-1980s. Between 1982 and 1984 80% of annulments granted by US tribunals were overturned by the Holy See. JP II tightened up the rules but as late as 1996 the Ardhdiocese of Boston granted an annulment to Joseph Kennedy despite the objections of his former wife Sheila Rauch Kennedy. However, she appealed to the Roman Rota and the decision to grant nullity was overruled, although it took nine years.

In the case of one party (usually the wife) contesting the annulment there must be the right of final appeal to Rome. Had the case simply been reviewed by a suffragan tribunal Kennedy would in all likelihood have gotten* away with it.

* 'Gotten', the past participle of the verb 'to get', is retained in American English but is obsolete in British usage, which is regrettable on grounds of both grammar and euphony.

Calvin of Hippo said...

Fitz's Peter, No, I'll still be here to drive you spineless libs crazy. There is no place else to go, so we can only hope and pray that the Church will come to her senses.

Flavius Hesychius said...

I should warn here that Henry VIII's divorce should not be equated to Protestantism. A great many Protestants, English and non-English, on the continent opposed the divorce (Luther was one of them).

The point, of course, is that the Church in England during Henry VIII's reign was less any formal type of Christianity, but more 'Christianity according to the whims of Henry VIII'.

Anonymous said...

Some may look at the Eastern Orthodox Church, which also claims to be the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. Certainly they have never had "balloon" liturgies or "clown Masses" in their liturgies!

Flavius Hesychius said...

Indeed, Anonymous. I think there's more former Episcopalians at my parish than any other group.

(As a further point of interest, all of the former Catholics who converted to Orthodoxy I know are men.)

John Nolan said...

Henry VIII used his power (the King in Parliament) to declare that the English Church was no longer subject to Rome. St Thomas More argued that Parliament could not override divine law and that the English Church (Ecclesia Anglicana) could not be made schismatic by Act of Parliament.

We hear a lot about 'Gallicanism'. Yet Louis XVI could not accept the Civil Constitution of the Clergy which subordinated the Church to the State in the Henrician manner.

Both Henry VIII and Francis I of France flirted with Protestantism. The former, by savagely persecuting orthodox Catholics, by entrusting the education of his son and heir to extreme Protestants, by despoiling the monasteries and by suppressing most traditional customs, is not a Catholic exemplar. Yes, the 'Church of England' as we know it dates from the Elizabethan settlement but has produced many holy and learned men and God has not deserted it, witness the careers of Newman and Manning.

Its present predicament cannot be for us a cause for Schadenfreude since the Catholic Church is in such a state (thanks mainly to Vatican II) that will take centuries to put right.