Monday, November 24, 2008

Our Fifth Columns

"This Protestant fifth column is still with us. Declarations are constantly being made that the Church of England comprehends many points of view and that all of them have an equal right to exist within its borders. We are told that extreme "Evangelical" Churches are as much "Church of England" as "Anglo-Catholic" ones, perhaps even more so. But this is simply not true. This is proved by the one authoritiative document which the Church of England has issued -- the Book of Common Prayer. Doctrines which are contrary to it are disloyal. Churches which do not obey its directions represent disloyal and rebellious elements."
J. C. L. Dart, The Old Religion

But it is equally true that churches, priests and bishops who imitate the Church of Rome either in doctrine or ceremonial are equally disloyal. I am in the process of reading The Very Rev'd Vernon Staley's Studies in Ceremonial and he made it very clear that most of what those who call themselves Anglo-Catholics are not only being disloyal to the basic Anglican position, but to that of the whole Western Church before the Council of Trent. Look to see some of his work on this blog.

4 comments:

Matthew Nelson said...

I fear that, under long-established principles of Anglo-American Equity, that numerous parties within the Anglican Communion -- which do not conform to its canons of doctrine, morals, or worship -- can claim a "right" of continued existence based on the principle of detrimental reliance. Indeed, once an institution tolerates open and continuous violations of its own principles under a claim of right (however absurd), what was once merely de facto transmutes by operation of law into something de jure.

The last attempts to actually enforce Anglican standards --Laud and the Ritualists Trials -- were resolved against Anglican norms.

I suppose admittedly practicing homosexual clergy and female clergy (less so) are issues still on the table. But, as for the rest, I fear its water under the bridge.

And, I suppose I could live with the "tares" of Prayer-Book Presbydeterminarians, Novus-Ordo, and Tridentine Anglo-Caths were the "wheat" of the Communion loyal to the true principles of the Elizabethan Settlement. But as is, its getting harder and harder to muster optimism.

Canon Tallis said...

Matthew,

The answer to all of this is for each Anglican deacon and priest to learn how to do the liturgy properly and then proceed to do just that. It means that we read the Anglican classics which I know that you do and then to make sure we are ready to look properly Anglican whenever we get the chance.

So many of the great London parishes of the last two centuries were founded by real prayer book churchmen only to be taken over later by those with a first loyalty to the Anglican papist movement. The same is probably true of parishes in the ACC and the APCK while people who are properly Anglican are simply afraid to stand up and take them back. It is a bit like those among us who unthinkingly describe papists as "Catholics" without realizing what that does to the claims of classical Anglicanism.

Or, and from an entirely different angle, it is like those now escaping from TEC's sinking ship who have continued to use the '79 book of heretical services. Now that in a few days they will be doing their own new province, they are working on a prayer book of their own using '28 American and 1662 as their sources. If they had any real claim to be Anglican they would already be using '28 with the addition of those things such as the third creed which the American book omitted.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Reading the Anglican Classics is important, and add to that reading the Church Fathers, especially St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil and St. Athanasius. Then you have a truly effective Anglican spiritual formation.

Canon Tallis said...

Indeed, Alice, The reading of the fathers is the first thing to which people should be pointed to after having read Holy Scripture. But for someone to be ordained even to the diaconate without having a fair knowledge of the fathers is a serious and terrible mistake.

One needs to read the fathers and the historic liturgies just have the merest understanding of what Anglicanism was intended to be and mean.