Fr. David Curry discusses the proposed Anglican Covenantadmin | 16 May 2010
The Anglican Essentials Blog contained the following opinion piece from The Anglican Journal, which sparked some discussion to which I contributed. I have included the opinion piece, as the Anglican Essentials Blog frames it, and, then, have offered an edited version of my comments. This is for your interest, in the build-up to General Synod in Halifax in early June 2010.
A revealing perspective on how it would be dishonest of the ACoC to accept the Covenant.
From the Journal
Members of the Anglican Communion are discerning how they can stay together in light of same-sex blessings and the consecration of gay bishops. The proposed Anglican Covenant, which would define the relationship between provinces of the Anglican Communion, is one way of addressing these challenges.
General Synod 2010 will consider the Covenant. The question is whether or not the Anglican Church of Canada should approve or adopt the Covenant. We suggest that the church, given its present practice with regard to same-sex blessings, cannot in good faith adopt or approve the Covenant.
Indeed, the Covenant offers the Anglican Church of Canada an opportunity to be honest before the world about its commitment to same-sex blessings and its willingness, in the name of its own standards of justice, to walk apart from the universal church. Why can the church not adopt the Covenant? It cannot because the Covenant insists on a primary commitment to the universal and apostolic church, a commitment that the movement for same-sex blessings rejects as opposing its standards of justice.
To approve the Covenant is to approve its insistence on the wider voice of the church in our own deliberations about same-sex blessings in Canada. It is to take seriously the inherited teaching of the church on scripture, in this case with regard to marriage. To approve the Covenant is therefore to refuse to proceed unilaterally with same-sex blessings.
Since we are already proceeding with same-sex blessings in three dioceses, it would be self-contradictory, if not dishonest, to approve, still less adopt, the Covenant.
The Covenant offers the Anglican Church of Canada, instead, an opportunity to be prophetic. The call to same-sex blessings has been a call to the standard of justice of Canadian church leaders. It has declared scripture and the church’s teaching on marriage to be oppressive and outdated.
Let the church, then, have the courage of its convictions.
Let it, at General Synod 2010, stand apart from the Covenant and its insistence on scripture and tradition and the voices of all the provinces. Let the Anglican Church of Canada accept the potential cost of its call to its own standards of justice: a second-tier status in the larger Anglican Communion. General Synod cannot, in good conscience, do otherwise.
Anglican Essentials Blog editorial comment:
This unusually straightforward assessment admits that by proceeding with same-sex blessings, the ACoC is breaking with “the inherited teaching of the church on scripture” in order be “prophetic” and conform to a Zeitgeist inspired version of “justice”.
Extraordinarily stark clarity: we are right; who cares what anyone else thinks; damn the torpedoes and full steam ahead!
I offer the following commentary (itself a digest of the to-and-fro of exchanges on the blog).
There is a wonderful clarity to this argument. In a way, it is simply being blunt and honest about the Anglican Church of Canada because of the actions of certain dioceses. But the argument is overstated.
The fact of self-contradictions within the Church in terms of same-sex blessings in some places doesn’t mean the Anglican Church of Canada must, ispo facto, reject the Covenant. I would argue that it can and must endorse the covenant as a mechanism for the union of the Communion, regardless of these anomalies and confusions (which are not going to go away, by the way, precisely because they lack any theological coherence with respect to creedal and moral doctrine and with respect to the nature of our polity).
At issue, is whether the Anglican Church of Canada will see itself at the level of General Synod, Inc, as having any kind of connection to the Church Universal. I hasten to add, though, that priests, parishes and dioceses could and should acknowledge the covenant (at least as a mechanism pro tempore) that is consistent with the primary form of Canadian Anglican identity signalled in the Solemn Declaration which commits the Anglican Church of Canada to Canterbury. Just because of the militant confusion resulting in same-sex blessings in some places shouldn’t mean that all Canadian Anglicans are to be disenfranchised from membership in the wider communion.
The sectarian actions of a few do not require the abandonment of the universal church by the rest. And even if the Anglican Church of Canada in its institutional expression should reject the Covenant and embrace its own sectarian tendencies, does that mean that we all have? No. That is why some have taken the step of indicating their commitment to the wider Communion regardless of what happens at General Synod 2010; for instance, simply by way of endorsing the Anglican Covenant as “a mechanism for maintaining the unity of the Anglican Communion, in accord with the foundational principles of our Anglican identity expressed in the Book of Common Prayer, the Ordinal, and the Thirty-nine Articles and as consistent with the Solemn Declaration of 1893 in Canada.”
There is strength in the minimalism of our polity with respect to what can and cannot be forced. There are limits on what lies within the purview of General Synod.
The argument makes it clear that what is at stake is Anglican Church of Canada’s “own sense of justice” vs the universal church; sectarian vs catholic, but overstates that opposition. In a church which is committed to fallibility, there is, I think, a requirement of living with contradictions. That doesn’t mean acquiescence and acceptance; it means persevering and refusing to accept what can’t be required to be required. In short, it means a commitment to catholicity in the face of what is merely one of the many forms of sectarian tendencies in the North American ecclesiastical scene.
Richard Hooker (late 16th century) makes a very basic and important but fundamental distinction between the Church Visible and the Church Invisible. The visible Church, in and through the churches, is fallible, owing to the flawed nature of fallen reason as well as the limits of the finite world (on that point, he did not unchurch Calvin’s Geneva just because the church there had no bishops!).
The Church (visible) may and has erred even in things pertaining unto God, as the Article puts it. There is a remarkable strength in the minimalism of our foundational documents – the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Book of Common Prayer and Ordinal as rooted and grounded in a doctrinal or creedal reading of Scripture – that limits and resists the adding of new teachings or practices as required to be accepted by all in the Church. This has been the real problem – the pushing as essential things which cannot be regarded as such and do not become essential simply by Episcopal and Synodical fiat.
The Church is not a sect of the elect. That councils may and have erred is what I mean by the fallible church as distinct from an ecclesiastical polity which is wedded to infallibility whether in the form of a dispensationalist polity or that of the contemporary Roman Catholic Church. I regard this concept of fallibility as one of the strengths and insights of the reformed Catholicism of the Anglican Churches and as providing the principled basis for forbearing many of the demands of the advocacy culture. We shouldn’t be providing special liturgies for special interest groups and making accommodations to sociological and psychological theories and hypotheses. That is to compromise and undermine the sufficiency and comprehensiveness of creedal and scriptural doctrine.
Decisions taken by councils (read Synods, read General Synod, read Bishops, read the institutions of the Anglican Stratosphere such as Anglican Consultative Council now vying for prominence over the Primates and Canterbury) that are contrary to the stated principles that limit what can and cannot be decided on as matters of doctrine or faith requiring subscription, cannot be required. This is the great strength of the Solemn Declaration for us in Canada.
It is only a sectarian logic that makes essential what cannot be essential or attempts to force the acceptance of what cannot be required to be accepted. The Synods in our polity do not have the power to determine doctrine. That is Episcopal and Synodical overreach and results in contradictions and confusions – things which we have been living with for some time and in many different ways. It constitutes a betrayal of the essential Catholicism that belongs to our foundational principles expressed in the magisterium – the teaching authority – of the Church in our Anglican understanding which is expressed in the BCP, the Articles and the Ordinal. Bishops and Synods as well as priests and parishes are ultimately subject to that spiritual understanding regardless of the madness of synods and follies of bishops.
My point is (a) that councils such as synods may and have erred (and may err yet again!); (b) that Anglicans are actually committed to the fallibility of the visible Church; and (c) that provides the context in which there has to be the constant struggle to articulate and argue for the Faith.
By the universal Church, I mean the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as confessed in the Creeds and as being that spiritual fellowship of which Anglicans believe themselves to be a legitimate and constituent part. We have never claimed to be the whole church, only an integral part of the whole or universal church. I would distinguish matters of polity from contemporary institutional policies but would not identify the Church Universal simply with its institutional expressions and instruments of power. Some identify that phrase in the Creed with General Synod. I think that is nonsense and, ultimately, sectarian in its consequences.
With respect to 1 Cor. 5, the importance and need for repentance and correction are constant; the problems of impaired communion unending. But the issue there is one of discipline and the forms of authority under which discipline is exercised. We have long ceased to have a real communion discipline and are unclear now about a variety of moral issues, preferring to have matters of immorality dealt with in accord with the discourse of the psychological and therapeutic community and in the language of “human rights.” To reclaim the moral discourse that properly belongs to Christian theology is a pressing necessity. It can’t be done simply by asserting who is in and who is out through coercive authority. In this so-called conservatives run the risk of doing the exact same thing as so-called liberals.
That being said, I think, priests and parishes can and should take a positive stand for the spiritual and moral principles which belong to our polity against the tyranny of bishops and synods. I think that while some people regard some of our pressing issues as being very straight forward and clear-cut, they often overlook how our whole culture and church(es), especially the middle-class, are completely compromised on matters of sexual morality.
In my view, it is our task and witness to uphold the principles of doctrine and moral order that we have received; to wit, in relation to the present concern, that marriage is the union of man and woman and that while the friendship is a blessed and wonderful thing, there is no warrant in Scripture or in tradition to equate the blessing of friends with the doctrine of Christian marriage. I would extend this line of argument further to say that there is no compelling reason in contemporary culture for such an understanding either. Paul’s letter(s) to the Corinthians argue for the importance of the moral in relation to the doctrine of Christ, but rather than seeing 1 Cor. 5 as being a blueprint or, in modern parlance, a regulatory protocol, I see it as providing the principles of discipline which should inform how matters of immorality are dealt with at the local level and beyond.
In our present confusions, we lack true ecclesiastical courts and any real disciplinary structure. So many things pertaining to immorality have to be dealt with pastorally at the local level. How to be both firm and gentle is the art of the pastoral but it comes down to what the Church teaches and how it teaches. Once again, this suggests the formative importance of our foundational documents which mediate an orthodox Christian understanding of the essentials of the Christian faith as well as the basic shape of moral order and polity.
By a commitment to a fallible church, I simply mean what our articles indicate about error. I do not mean that we can revisit the Creeds or re-image God or the Church or anything like that. What our Anglican polity recognizes is the inevitable limits of the finite and our human failings both individually and collectively. By fallible here, I mean that Bishops and Synods are not invariably and infallibly right in their decisions. Every decision by a local or national synod is not ipso facto, inspired by the Holy Spirit. What this means positively is a mechanism of correction and opportunities for repentance and renewal. Synodical decisions can be reversed.
In its truth, our polity limits the idea of adding or taking away anything from basic doctrine, making it clear, again in the Articles and in the Ordinal, that nothing can be required as necessary for salvation that is not proved out of the Scriptures. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be lots of inconsistencies and confusions. What troubles us now are the pressures to accommodate ideas and practices that belong to the sociological and the political and which lack scriptural and theological basis. This arises in part, out of our creedal confusions and doctrinal unknowing. While synods can discuss things, they cannot mandate doctrine. They don’t have the authority to redefine the doctrine of marriage, for instance.
The Anglican Covenant doesn’t create new doctrine; it represents an attempt to establish a mechanism to hold the communion together and does so in a way that recognizes the foundational principles of our Anglican Christian identity. I might add, that while there may be a mere Christianity there are no mere Christians; our Christian faith is mediated through particular forms of Christian identity, particular forms of our participation in the body of Christ. The challenge is to understand how those particular forms participate in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The present contradictions and confusions within the Anglican Church of Canada do not logically or theologically mandate rejecting the “Anglican Covenant.” That doesn’t mean just doing nothing necessarily.
I suggest that there is a way of regarding the actions and decisions of synods and bishops without having to feel obliged to accept them as binding on conscience and/or on practice and discipline. There are some actions, as it were, which may or may not be possible depending on local situations.
One action is for parishes and priests to uphold the Anglican Covenant, which has a certain force of consensus far greater than the pretensions of the North American Anglican Churches, as a mechanism for the unity of the Anglican Communion. This is what Christ Church, Windsor, has done.
The pretensions to doctrinal autonomy on the part of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada have resulted in their resisting the Communion as a whole. I have no idea whether the Anglican Church of Canada will turn and repent, but there may still be some concern about rejecting outright the Covenant and becoming second-tier Anglicans, as it were.
I am interested in the positioning formally, if possible, of parishes, dioceses, priests, laity with the Communion as a whole through the formularies which bind us. As I see it, I can’t be forced to commit to anything beyond what I have already committed to in my ordination vows and I don’t see how Bishops can coerce parishes to accept certain things either, except by an outrageous and uncharitable overreach of their authority. There is price to be paid for their doing so.
The General Synod may determine what it likes; it may decide that the moon is made of green cheese or whatever, but that doesn’t make it so. There are limits to its actual authority and to what is and what is not binding. Of course, defining the presenting issue as a justice issue may well lead to the attempts to coerce. All the more reason for parishes to state their position as a counter to such potentialities.
There are no practical solutions to theoretical problems. The disorders are deep and the quest for a quick fix mistaken. What I have suggested is simply about a kind of honesty and standing firm on the principles that we have received and which properly define us. My point is that we have a magisterium and the General Synod is not that magisterium. (And they know this.) The gradual recovery (/discovery) of the theological mind of the Church is what I seek as a counter to the progressive agendas that, in my view, have no future in them. Councils may and have erred. And we have had lots of episcopal nutters before.
I think it would be quite an extraordinary thing if the Anglican Church of Canada were to accept the Covenant; that would show at the very least some sense that there is something bigger than themselves and the agendas that are currently driving them. One, of course, can be cynical about it but how can one not endorse the Covenant as a mechanism? That doesn’t mean that it has everything perfectly put (it doesn’t) but is a way of recognising the need for a way to recover the vital and formative force of our foundational principles. The quest for a political solution is misguided in an area where there is so much theological confusion and, in my view, error.
I am not suggesting that the actions of parishes would sway an entire national church (though on the other hand, the power of minimalist statements should not be underrated). I am merely suggesting a possible action that some might be in a position to undertake and which might provide a bit of bulwark against bully bishops.
In any event, it is not about numbers and percentages but about recognising certain governing principles regardless of the particular opinions that many hold. It is a purely sectarian logic which would require submission to synodical actions on matters beyond their purview. That is when the Universal Church becomes collapsed into an episcopal sect.
For me it is about death and resurrection. There has never been as much talk and thought about the foundational principles of our Anglican Christian identity as there has been over the last twenty years or more. That, to my mind, is a good thing, even a miracle, because it is through the magisterium of the Articles, the Ordinal and the BCP that the Anglican Church/(es) participates in the Universal Church. That it is a struggle to think these things and to let their formative power shape our souls and our corporate life is a given. And yes, they are what we have received; at issue is whether we will think them. The magisterium is not the bishops; what is missing are ways to hold them accountable. The “Anglican Covenant” is a way of trying to attain accountability.
To think that these principles are but a band-aid is exactly the kind of theoretical problem that has landed us in these messy waters where all sides are quick to jump to action. It is the constant task for each generation to think through the biblical and theological categories of creation, redemption and sanctification as they pertain to moral and spiritual life and as they shape social and political life.
I think that what has happened to J.I. Packer in New Westminster is a travesty but I think it is mistaken to think that was about a rejection of the foundational principles that we have received; it was about the power politics and overreach of the Bishop and his Synod. And it reveals exactly the problem I am trying to identify – the forcing of things which can’t be forced. Sadly, the Anglican Church of Canada has a bit of a history of alienating fine theological minds, such as Fr. Palmer and Fr. de Cantanzaro; and has largely ignored Fr. Robert Crouse, who Eugene Fairweather called ‘the Conscience of the Canadian Church.’ In a way, these instances reveal the problem of not attending to the covenant which we already have. The ‘Anglican Covenant’, as I see it, is an attempt at finding a mechanism to hold the communion together and in a way that allows for the formative nature of doctrine in devotion to begin to have its way. It signals an attempt to corral Episcopal nutters who behave like potentates.
Certainly in its institutional expressions such as General Synod, Inc, etc., the Anglican Church of Canada is a sorry story, but to suggest that only those who have joined ANiC or ACNA are bible-believing Christians (whatever that might mean) seems harsh as is the suggestion that because of the antics of Synods and Bishops everyone else is to be tarred with the same brush. To my mind, that is as sectarian a view as the institutional view of Anglican Church of Canada or The Episcopal Church that insists that local and national autonomy takes precedence over the Communion as a whole.
That some – even many – fail to recognize the principles that govern our Anglican identity and their formative effect is hardly anything new. It wasn’t just Elijah who hadn’t bowed the knee to Baal, there were four thousand others. What works for some in certain situations does not work for others. I want to walk with all who walk with the Communion as long as it continues to be possible to point to exactly the things for which I signed up for. That is something which I think David Short and J.I. Packer and I agree on.
ANiC etc may be a ‘practical solution’ for some but such things are in the long end of the day but pro tempore unless they remain connected to real and substantial theological principles such as the ones which I have mentioned as fundamental to an Anglican Christian identity. As to the Anglican Church of Canada as an institution – meaning the national church and its attendant bureaucracies – that can go tomorrow and there would still be a Church. The Diocesan Synods can go too and there would still be a Church. The Church of England in Canada, now the Anglican Church of Canada, is not fundamentally a bureaucracy – that has been a relatively recent thing. The present primate is only the fifth or sixth who is without a See (therefore having to create a power–base – a bureaucracy, á la mode American). Dioceses are really nothing more than bishops and parishes with priests. The synods are Johnny-come-latelies and have been allowed to overreach their authority; that and collusion with the bishops has resulted in the destruction of parishes, particularly in rural Canada.
There are, I think, though perhaps I am hopelessly romantic, still parishes and parish priests who are quietly faithful and solid in their ministry and teaching and whose labours, I pray, redound to the glory of God and the good of the Church in the places where God in his mercy has been pleased to place them. To suggest that the foundational principles have been resoundingly rejected is equally problematic since the institution (Anglican Church of Canada) is caught in the bind of wanting both to embrace same-sex blessings (though not as something doctrinal – interesting, why that tactic? Because doctrine somehow matters?) and to claim the foundational principles. In other words, they somehow feel something of their weight and truth in spite of themselves; they haven’t argued for jettisoning these things (yet!). That to my mind is amazing and part of a kind of new birth, perhaps, and one that arises out of the death throes of an institution that embraced a corporate mindset to pursue sociological and political agendas a long time ago. “Forty years long was I grieved with this generation and said it is a people that do err in their hearts, for they have not known my ways.”
Semper reformans – always reforming. I continue to hope and pray for the renewal and the unity of the Anglican Communion. I do so, too, in the face of those who would seek the harm of those who remain committed to our foundational principles and as one who refuses to accept what cannot be required to be accepted.
There has been no reform or renewal in the history of the Christian Church that hasn’t been about the recovery of foundational principles. Any true form of the development of doctrine is about different legitimate emphases given to creedal principles. Questions on polity ultimately turn on different doctrinal emphases. The larger question is about engaging the assumptions of the contemporary world from the standpoint of a renewed confidence in the principles of the faith. It can only happen from within the midst of the confusions which affect us all. It is where we all are.
Magisterium refers to the teaching authority. In keeping with all – I repeat – all of the churches of the magisterial reformation, there is the recognition that the authority of Scripture cannot be merely and naively asserted without regard for the conciliar and creedal developments which articulate the essential concepts that give the Scriptures their coherence and power. As the Anglican divines show, the early Church established the essentials principles of the Christian faith as based on Scripture. The Creeds emerge at the same time (more or less) as the establishment of the canon of Scripture. Scripture and creedal doctrine go hand in hand. This has been presented in papers (and not just by me) in our Canadian context.
Inerrancy. For reformed theology, there is the general recognition that the three solas (now there’s a paradox worthy of the Trinity!) admit of a number of different expressions. Sola scriptura, sola fides, sola gratia can be understood in a number of different yet legitimate ways. The Anglican Articles articulate what is simply the common reformed idea, namely, that “the Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to Salvation.” To put it bluntly, it is precisely the magisterium of the Scriptures that is articulated and expressed in and through the foundational documents of classical Anglicanism and which are still with us. They are there as a rebuke and a reminder, as an expression of the living truth that connects us to the Church Universal.
The comments of individual Canadian Anglicans who are dismissive of the Articles and the Prayer Book (and Ordinal) are at best anecdotal and at worst dishonest since it seems unlikely that in Canada there will be an outright repudiation of these principles. General Synod might like to be free from this magisterium in order to assert its own, but, in general, there remains an interesting hesitancy about dismissing them entirely, even a reluctance to say that the acceptance of the same-sex blessings is (a) a matter of doctrine or (b) that it is equivalent to marriage. This is to begin to recognize some of the limits of their overreach. (Allowing such blessings, of course, does compromise the received doctrine about Christian marriage and to press on with such things, would be to contradict the will of the Communion and the Solemn Declaration which defines the being of the Anglican Church of Canada as an integral part of the universal church through its relation with Canterbury).
The Episcopal Church in its 1979 so-called Book of Common Prayer attempted to relegate some things to the status of an historical appendix and there were various dismissive remarks in the prefaces in the BAS. The scoffing dismissal of the Articles, etc. is yesterday’s story. There has been a remarkable rebirth of interest in the importance of these documents, a kind of resurrection of the understanding about the covenant which we really have and, perhaps, the beginnings of a renewed thoughtfulness less inclined to rush to action. We have, of course, a long ways to go.
The political obscures the theological. I am wanting to focus on the latter. Thomas Ogden, writing out of an American Methodist background, wrote Requiem which captures many of the same themes which we have been going through in terms of the rejection of foundational principles in favour of social and political agendas, and then wrote The Rebirth of Orthodoxy. For him the latter lies in terms of various re-alignments but at the heart of it lies a renewed appreciation for orthodox theology over against institutionalism. Institutions have to learn to live from their foundational principles. That is the constant struggle.
I have the greatest regard for the Westminster Confession (Presbyterian) and regard it as part of the same Reformed world of theology as the Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles. Along with the Articles, for Anglicans, stands the Ordinal and the Book of Common Prayer (in Canada, all three are contained in the 1962 Cdn. BCP – the only modern – i.e. post-World War II – revision of the Prayer Book that stands within the Common Prayer tradition explicitly).
To sum up: magisterium is actually the key term notwithstanding whatever associations or misconceptions that may occasion for some. As long as these foundational documents are there, then one can legitimately say that is what the Church stands for and teaches, regardless of the mutterings of Synods and the mumblings of Bishops or the ravings of priests and laity. In fact and de jure, I cannot be asked to abjure what I have sworn to uphold as being the express teaching of the Church.
What is contained in the magisterium are the measure of our teaching and they are the form of our participation in the Church Universal. They reflect the way in which the Scriptures are read, namely, creedally and doctrinally. The simple point is that they are our magisterium and not Bishops and Synods. The struggle is to understand them and live from them. As John Bramhall (17th century) puts it some things are de symbolo, some things are contra symbolum and some things are praeter symbolum. Symbol refers to the Creed(s). Some things are explicitly of the Creed – creedal doctrine necessary to be believed from the witness of the Scriptures; other things are contrary to the Creeds and other things are besides the Faith, as he puts it, which is not to say that they are not important; there is a hierarchy of “truths revealed” as he puts it.
With respect to the presenting issue in the Anglican Communion, I am not alone in regarding it primarily as a matter of moral error, quite apart from the political machinations which have been so discomfiting and troubling and horribly wrong. God shall be the judge of all our uncharity.
From the standpoint of the magisterium there are three areas of concern: essential (creedal) doctrine, moral doctrine, and polity. Morality is comprehended in the Creed explicitly under the aegis of the forgiveness of sins which turns upon the doctrines of Creation, Redemption and Sanctification; the forgiveness of sins is the lynch-pin of our participation in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and the Communion of Saints individually in terms of the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.
Councils may and have erred – what is meant here are not the Oecumenical Councils, per se. There is just that sense of deference to the larger reality of the body of Christ, the Church Universal, in and through its most comprehensive expressions – the four or seven great Oecumenical Councils. The issue for classical Anglicans and the reformed tradition in general was about adding anything as required to be accepted beyond what could be proved out of the Scriptures and which is comprehended in the Creed, and, for the most part, articulated in the Oecumenical Councils. While it is true that the Church of England eschewed the hyper-Calvinism of Dort, it remains – in terms of the Articles and Liturgy – solidly within the fold of reformed theology, or “reformed Catholicism.”
My hope and prayer is that there will be the renewal, restoration and unity of the Anglican Communion and that the various bodies that derive in one way or another from our legacy of doctrinal minimalism will discover the unity that we have in the “original” covenant. To that end, I view the so-called “Anglican Covenant” as a mechanism that serves to promote that end. I can only hope and pray that all who identify the form of their Christian faith with the heritage and legacy of “Anglicanism” will embrace the catholicism of that heritage and legacy and eschew the sectarianism which diminishes us all.
A prayer, but Rogationtide reminds us that prayer is all, that prayer belongs to the going forth and return of the Son to the Father in which all our worldly ambitions are “overcome” in the redemption of Creation by the love of the Son for the Father in the bond of the Holy Spirit.
In response to the query about when did things begin to go awry, I think it has its roots in the death of theology in the 60s though there is a longer history that has to do with the fragmentation of theological authorities in the 19th century, namely the break-up of allegiances to the bible (evangelicals), the tradition (anglo-catholics), the institutions, ‘modern’ biblical theology, (liberals) etc. What was common for all was an assumption about the magisterium but, at least in my view, in an unthinking or untheological way, hence the fragmentation.
It has only been in the post-World War II period that the magisterium of the Articles, the Prayer Book, and the Ordinal has been ignored, dismissed and even, in some parts of the Communion, repudiated or compromised The wonder of our present time is the beginning of the discovery of their formative power and strength. For that may God be praised!
David Curry, May 2010
Note: Click here to read the full exchange between Fr. Curry and other commenters at Anglican Essentials Blog.