Wednesday, August 15, 2012


This is an educational video produced by the Anglican Church in Canada. He tries to show that in Anglicanism or the Episcopal Church there is a Protestant strain and a Catholic strain and both co-exist. The video uses the approach to the "Eucharist" of both strains to make the point.

It also makes the point for us as Catholics since the Second Vatican Council. We have become a divided Church based on the theology of the Mass, either "high Church theology" which is actually our heritage as Catholics or "low Church theology" which is the Reformation's approach to the Eucharist and the Church.

Who would have thought an Episcopalian video would make things so clear for us. Obviously we must recover our Catholic high theology and purify ourselves of the Protestant influences in our theology since the Second Vatican Council or we risk becoming Anglicans while claiming to be Roman Catholics!


Hammer of Fascists said...

It's a very interesting video and I agree with the general tenor of your arguments, but I think that there are a couple of big differences between the Anglican and the Catholic scenarios that one must recognize when applying this model.

First, while it's true that a Christian who rejects the authority of the Church probably meets the generic definition of Protestant, what Catholicism is dealing with isn't a "traditional Protestant" mindset (if you will) of doctrinal differences, but a modernist mindset that seeks to redefine, discredit, or otherwise attack the very underpinnings of objective truth and revealed religion. (Luther opened the door to subjectivity, but it was probably unintentional on his part--he believed in objective truth and that the Catholic Church had strayed from it.) In that sense, modernism is closer to apostasy than heresy, but it's an apostasy that dresses up like Catholic Christianity (just as high church Anglicans "dress up" as Catholics), leading to subversion and terrible confusion, a confusion that is designed by modernists to destroy the Church.

This leads us to the second point. I don't think that Cranmer an the other founders of Anglicanism, and its later practitioners, ever attempted to hide what they were doing in attempting to fuse Catholic and Protestant liturgy and theology. They weren't attempting to sow confusion as a means to destruction. For them fusion was a feature, not a bug. It was a modus vivendi and not an attempt to subvert, as highlighted by the clip that shows these two Anglican ministers to be good friends who happen to have two different but equally valid liturgical approaches. But modernism, by its very premises, is hostile to the very essence of Catholic theology. If the Church has taught the truth for 2000 years, then modernism can only corrupt that truth and should thus not be compromised with or tolerated. And the objective truth of Catholcism is a threat to the underpinnings of modernism, so in the long run modernism can't compromise with orthodox Catholicism. It's understanding of "peaceful coexistence" is the same as the USSR's was vis-a-vis the USA: all means short of war to destroy, eventually, the other side.

Thus modernism within the Church is a much greater danger than Protestantism within Anglicanism.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

A-5, I agree with you completely. The Anglican Church as the video makes clear is what it is and it makes no bones about it. The friendship and lack of acrimony amongst the two diverse priests indicates that too. This is the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion.
Whereas the manner in which the post-Vatican II Mass has been celebrated not so much recently but in the late 60's and 70's clearly took on the Protestant version of the Eucharist explained in the video, yet no one was truthful about this not even the Pope and his committee that designed the new Mass. There was a bit of subterfuge. Yes, there were ecumenical issues that the revised Mass hoped to overcome, but no one told us in the post-Vatican II era that we were taking on a reformation model of the Eucharist and in a wholesale, unified way to appease the Reformation crowd and create Church unity out of a magnanimous gesture. It has failed and failed miserably. If we had been told the truth up front, I think the outcry would have been greater early on than it was, but many people felt the new Mass was too Protestant and this video helps me to understand that for the first time. Kudos to the Anglicans for pointing it out!

Unknown said...


"Thus modernism within the Church is a much greater danger than Protestantism within Anglicanism."

Absolutely right. A heresy does damage to the Church. A heresy can't do much damage to another heresy.

Undermine that which is true with a falsehood and the truth is corrupted. Undermine a falsehood with another falsehood and you still don't have the truth, just another layer of falsehood.


Fr. McD;

" If we had been told the truth up front, I think the outcry would have been greater early on than it was, but many people felt the new Mass was too Protestant and this video helps me to understand that for the first time."

This is exactly what Mons. Schuler and Cardinal Burke are driving at. We were lied to by the Consilium. Had we not been lied to about the Mass, then we would have far less of an issue than we do today. This also extends beyond the Mass though into three other areas:

1. The Sacred Liturgy
2. Religious Tolerance/Liberty
3. Ecumenism
4. Magisterium of Vatican Council II.

We were lied to about all of these issues. Had we been told the truth, I think that the issue would have been cleared up much faster.

Just my .02

Joseph Johnson said...

All very interesting and very telling! This may mean nothing but I even noticed that the "high church" Anglican priest had on the "true collar" (rabat style) while the "low church" guy wore the Gleason insert style invented in about 1960. My experience is that this can be an indicator of general attitude even with Catholic priests (though not always).

It is also interesting that the "low church" guy used the burse on the altar (EF style) while the "high church" guy didn't. The burse was the only item with the color of the day used in the Anglican Mass offered by Rev. Travis. Maybe the "high church" guy is the only one with true Holy Orders. Though it would probably be impossible know this (about the validity of their respective orders) it would be interesting if we could.

Joseph Johnson said...

When I was in law school with my friend, fellow Catholic, and colleague, Jody Peterman, he used to have a term to describe Anglican liturgy with "priests" who do not have valid Orders. He called it "procedure without justification" (meaning they have the ritual and the external signs but nothing happens sacramentally if a man without valid orders is the celebrant).

Joseph Johnson said...

I just watched the last part of this video and noticed that the high church Anglican priest held his fingers over the chalice during the ablutions, as in the EF.

The last priest I saw do this in the OF (and he was the first one I had seen do this in a long while, insisting that the altar servers be trained to accomodate this) was our late pastor, Fr. Robert Girardeau. This needs to be recaptured and re-emphasized along with the use of hand patens for communicants.

John Nolan said...

The rite appears to be closely modelled on the Novus Ordo - it certainly had little in common with the BCP. Even the language is very much obsolete ICEL. I think Nick follows the rubric whereas Travis makes up his own - it is quite bizarre that he conjoins thumb and forefinger at the Preface and again at the ablutions, but not after the 'consecration' of the 'host', so he is aping Roman gestures without understanding their significance.

dominic1955 said...

Aping Roman gestures is a "good" thing insofar as it might lead to straight up Romanism! Like Bl. Newman said, to be deep in history is to cease being Protestant. If anyone ever really dives into the reason why they do thing, like wear stoles and chasubles or use the canonical digits, they will soon see the bankruptcy and lack of true tradition of the Anglican "Church". The High Churchman would have been strung up by his co-religionists 500 years ago for his adherence to Popish trash and trinkets. Just saying...

It is true that Modernism is what our problem is, but we see what happens when a heretical innovation takes root with Anglicanism. Cranmer and Co. did their "reform" with underhanded and stealthy compromises. The original 1549 BCP and the other associated books were much more "Catholic" than subsequent editions. When Cranmer and pals could really have their way after lukewarm Catholics had accepted their book as Catholic enough to soothe their consciences, under Edward VI, this was thrown out the window and the BCP became outwardly Protestant. Some "Catholic" feel gained some resurgence after the end of the Restoration of Queen Mary with the ascendency of King Charles I and II. Of course, it was too little too late to make it truly Catholic in any meaningful way.

What Anglicanism eventually solidified into after Cranmer and Bucer's time was a sort of "via media" between typical Continental Protestantism and straight up Roman Catholicism. The Protestant wing, though, always had the upper hand (i.e. Georgian Anglicanism) until the 19th Century with people like the Oxford Movement and the Ritualists.

The more "Catholic" brand ends up coming home to Rome when they realize that Anglican "third way" diversity is a ruse. The Protestants are happy with the ordered chaos that is the Anglican Communion and the post-Christians do whatever they feel like. If they like smells and bells, their churches might do a Solemn High Mass that would put most traditional Catholic parishes to shame but do not be surprised if one of the "sacred ministers" is a lesbian or was once a woman and that the people in the pews are functional atheists.

Gene said...

When I was in Prot seminary, we often said that Anglicanism was all form and no content...