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A Third Way for the Anglicans?
July 7, 2006 9:28 PM   Subscribe

Is Catholic-Anglican Reconciliation the only way forward? The Anglicans aren't Protestant, they're Catholics! In 1920 the Church of England - Anglicans - called for its reconciliation with the Catholic Church, and in 1925 the Catholic Ecumenical movement sought to make the Anglicans an autonomous Catholic church with the Archbishop of Canterbury as its patriarch. It would have been similar to the Coptic and Syro-Malabarese churches. The move was quashed by Pope Pius XI, who ended the ecumenical movement there and then. If conservative Anglicans chose this third way, instead of infighting over sexuality and gender issues or establishing a new model for membership, it could keep its married priests, its land, its churches, it's membership, and the Archbishop of Canterbury would still have a job.
posted by parmanparman (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
But why would it want to?
posted by delmoi at 9:34 PM on July 7, 2006


What if the Queen needs a divorce?
posted by b1tr0t at 9:58 PM on July 7, 2006


The issue is not about Rome. In fact, the Anglican Church, if reconciled, would keep all of its current laws intact. When the ecumenical movement suggested reconciliation in 1925, it called for bringing the church back as it was and keeping it that way - divorce and all. There is a movement toward a home-rule Catholic Church in the US, called Take Back Our Church.
posted by parmanparman at 10:14 PM on July 7, 2006


What is this, Anglican day?
posted by nyxxxx at 10:18 PM on July 7, 2006


But why would it want to?

Exactly. Right now the Anglican Communion can't even figure out what to do with the Episcopal Church. The Episcopalians are looking more and more like they're about to schism.

I don't see them returning to Rome right now, not with everything in chaos at home, not with this pope in office.
posted by dw at 10:39 PM on July 7, 2006


Agghhh. What a terrible idea.
posted by caddis at 10:42 PM on July 7, 2006


Looks like a good idea to me.
posted by Jelreyn at 11:20 PM on July 7, 2006


Kids in a playing with Hot Wheels determining rules over what a VROOM! means in their sandbox.

For the love of all that is rational, this should be a non-issue. All religions are by now transparently synthetic. The Anglican Church especially.
posted by sourwookie at 11:27 PM on July 7, 2006


The issue is not about Rome. In fact, the Anglican Church, if reconciled, would keep all of its current laws intact. When the ecumenical movement suggested reconciliation in 1925, it called for bringing the church back as it was and keeping it that way - divorce and all. There is a movement toward a home-rule Catholic Church in the US, called Take Back Our Church.

The main link was last updated in 2004 and comes to the conclusion that the two churches are actually drifting further apart because the Anglicans are ordaining women and the Catholics are steadily deifying the Virgin Mary.

I don't think the home rule stuff will never happen, for two reasons: Churches that liberalize their beliefs tend to see a sharp drop-off in attendance in the short term and an overall shrinking congregation in the long term. To put it bluntly, the people who are the type to get involved in a church community don't want to do it in a way that they see as half-assed:

"The leadership of the main body of the Western Church and the American Church has become, increasingly since the Second World War, the theologically liberal Church. Much the same has happened to many of the mainline denominations—big, old Protestant churches. As they have become more liberal, adventurous, and postmodern in their interpretations of the Bible, their pews have started to empty out. Their congregations get older, grayer, and sparser. And fervently faithful people have tended to leave and join megachurches or more evangelical denominations."

And the second reason is that the most actively-involved Catholics are usually the hardcore faithful who don't like to question the decisions of the clergy, even if that might seem counter-intuitive to the casual observer. Think of the old-school Italian aunt who goes to 7:30 a.m. mass every day and can be seen doing novenas before the Blessed Mother statue -- she's not going to be the one pushing for female priests.

Those are the people who support the church, both physically and financially, and they're also the reason why American churches stay conservative even if most Catholics don't share those conservative beliefs. Look who's in the pews every Sunday.

But the biggest reason is I don't see how Ratzinger and co. would agree to any of this.
posted by Alexandros at 12:37 AM on July 8, 2006


I don't see how Ratzinger and co. would agree to any of this.

Unless you're making a point, call the guy Benedict.
posted by gsteff at 1:13 AM on July 8, 2006


If the first article is correct in saying that the Roman Catholic Church is increasingly raising Mary to the role of Co-Redemptrix and is about to announce that role, does that not make them a good old fashioned Pagan religion? Furthermore, if Mary is Co-Redemptrix, then should not women be in the priesthood?

Seems like a slippery slope for a conservative Vatican to take.
posted by msjen at 5:33 AM on July 8, 2006


But can you say Archbishop of Canterbury in one burp?
posted by biffa at 5:47 AM on July 8, 2006


Churches that liberalize their beliefs tend to see a sharp drop-off in attendance in the short term and an overall shrinking congregation in the long term.

Can you demonstrate that this is a causal relationship? Because that claim contradicts my own observations. From what I have seen, churches seek to change their approaches, only after they notice a downward trend in the size of their congregations. This hardly ever works, because it alienates the traditionalists in their congregations, and it rarely does much to rekindle interest in those that have one foot outside the door.
posted by psmealey at 6:51 AM on July 8, 2006


Fuck that idea. Seriously. My grandmother didn't spend one or two sunday mornings a month in church so that Paddy McPapist could force his way into her party. If it wasn't from the Anglican Communion's distinction from Catholicism, we might as well be irishmen with bigger noses and smaller bottoms than normal.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:57 AM on July 8, 2006 [1 favorite]


Dear God. Anglicans are NOT Catholics. Have a look at the prayerbook, have a look at the theology. They look Catholic, since they kept the look and feel, but the theology is deeply influenced by Calvinism. There were no theological arguments between the English Puritans and the Anglican Church; they only disagreed about the look and feel. Which, admitedly, it pretty important. But still. Anglicans: not Catholics.
posted by Hildegarde at 8:16 AM on July 8, 2006


What if the Queen needs a divorce?

I thought in Britain these kind of marriage issues were traditionally solved by a simple beheading? Saves lawyers, too.
posted by uncle harold at 9:06 AM on July 8, 2006


But they didn't really keep the look and feel. Didn't much of that stuff only reappear after the Oxford movement?
posted by SoftRain at 10:02 AM on July 8, 2006


I wish all the Xian churches had one head so it could beheaded.
posted by davy at 10:23 AM on July 8, 2006


Benedict Ratzinger.
posted by davy at 10:25 AM on July 8, 2006


Baby Jebus Weeps.

(Seriously. No irony there, just mispelling. A great, radical, inconolclastic rebel comes along 2,000 years ago with these crazy ideas about peace and loving strangers and caring for the poorest and most downtrodden amongst you, and we get this.

That said, is "C of E" synonymous with the Anglican church?)
posted by bardic at 10:28 AM on July 8, 2006


There are a number of catholics in the Anglican Churches. Many of them have joined in the last few years because the practices are very comfortable for them; but they find themselves increasing disconnected from Rome's theological direction. In fact one of these individuals was recently elected Primate of the US Episcopal Church. Perhaps a better solution is for Catholic Churches in the US to join the Anglican Communion.
posted by humanfont at 10:36 AM on July 8, 2006


Can you demonstrate that this is a causal relationship? Because that claim contradicts my own observations. From what I have seen, churches seek to change their approaches, only after they notice a downward trend in the size of their congregations. This hardly ever works, because it alienates the traditionalists in their congregations, and it rarely does much to rekindle interest in those that have one foot outside the door.

Unfortunately I can't, and I don't think anyone has any hard data on this. But I linked to an interesting New Yorker piece that seems to back up my claim, and the anecdotal evidence I've seen seems to indicate it's true.

Unless you're making a point, call the guy Benedict.

I wasn't trying to be disrespectful, I just still think of him as Ratzinger.
posted by Alexandros at 12:31 PM on July 8, 2006


There are a number of catholics in the Anglican Churches. Many of them have joined in the last few years because the practices are very comfortable for them; but they find themselves increasing disconnected from Rome's theological direction. In fact one of these individuals was recently elected Primate of the US Episcopal Church. Perhaps a better solution is for Catholic Churches in the US to join the Anglican Communion.

There are also a number of Anglicans in the Catholic Church. Esquire did a great photo essay a few months back on Anglican priests who had converted to Catholicism and were allowed to remain married. It was interesting to see these guys who are now Catholic priests, photographed with their wives and kids. From what I remember, a few of them had taken their entire congregations along with them. The magazine said there are about 100 of them in the U.S. and they all made the switch under a program started by John Paul II.
posted by Alexandros at 12:36 PM on July 8, 2006


Great. As an episcopal priest, the first thing I want to do is return to a a patriarchal, misogynist church that won't let me get laid.

/sarcasm

Liberal churches that are clear about their identity and have strong leadership grow. Liberal churches with "therapeutic" leadership, and elderly, satisfied parishioners tend to die. Liberal churches that use technology grow. Liberal churches with good music grow. Tepid liberal churches - the norm - die. The reason the "liberal" church is losing members has more to do with working women and overburdened families than theological drift.

This post ain't happening. Most CofE are self-consciously protestant, with Roman Catholic dressing.
posted by john wilkins at 9:59 PM on July 8, 2006


Paddy McPapist - classic.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 1:59 AM on July 9, 2006


It's the fault of the gays. If they'd keep their filthy mouths shut and get back in their 'closets', this wouldn't be happening. Instead, they want to be priests and even bishops! OMGWTF!

Clearly, the Nigerians have it rightly. The gays should be put in prison, and we should all bow before a dark-age interpretation of the meaning of morality. Then the Anglican church can remain unified, brought down to the meanest, most repressive common ground. Clearly, continued unity of the communion is far more important than anything silly like human rights or human dignity. Jesus was all about repression and oppression, and imprisoning perverts.

I am sad that the Arch Bishop finds unity such a valuable thing it will trump compassion.
posted by Goofyy at 6:35 AM on July 9, 2006


msjen, they don't cite where they heard these rumors - and I haven't seen claims that the Vatican is currently considering this in any Catholic sources [Catholic magazines or websites, or Catholic relatives.] It seems rather unlikely to me. If any Pope was going to raise Mary to Co-Redemptrix, I would expect it to have been John Paul II, who was rather a Marian devotee. Benedict, on the other hand, seems too calculating and careful to introduce a controversial new doctrine like this. The Co-Redemptrix stuff isn't mentioned in the rest of the article, hasn't come to pass in two years, and the website doesn't seem particularly likely to have an up-to-date and inside view of trends in the Church.

[The website may be confused by the movement called Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici - there are certainly some people lobbying for the installation of a doctrine of co-redemption as a fifth Marian dogma. However, lobbying tends to have a rather limited effect on decisions in the Vatican, and the Vatican has already said 'no' to the Vox Populi people several times in the last decade.]
posted by ubersturm at 9:59 AM on July 9, 2006


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