Anglican Politics

In a posting back in 2009, Fr Anthony Chadwick gives a useful brief review of Anglican politics from a Catholic viewpoint:

. . .
Is availing ourselves of Anglicanorum Coetibus a betrayal of Anglicanism? No, because Anglicanism in its origins is none other than the Catholic Church in England that had, alongside other local European countries like France and Germany, many local traditions. To this day, the Archdiocese of Milan does not use the same liturgy or ceremonial customs as Rome, and Milan is in communion with Rome.

What went wrong in the 16th century is that the Anglican Church broke with Rome, first over Henry VIII’s matrimonial situation, and then the Protestants taking advantage of the weak and sickly Edward VI. Mary Tudor tried to reverse the situation, but by force and not persuasion. No sooner had Queen Mary died, Elizabeth I acceeded to the Throne and was quite reasonable until she got excommunicated by St. Pius V. Then everything was back to hard-line Protestantism in a heartbeat and with a vengeance.

Everything in England for the next hundred years or so was all about calming down the conflict of religions and promoting national unity under the Crown. That is what the chimera of a “pure” Church is all about, one big fudge and compromise to reduce the influence of the extremes of Roman Catholics trying to undermine the Establishment by political means and the Calvinist “anarchists”. That was essentially the role of bishops as the spiritual arm of the State and the Crown. Post-Reformation Anglican is essentially English politics, no more and no less.

. . .

Oh, yes, a new church had been formed, a Reformation church, broken away from the Pope and having repudiated the medieval baby along with the bathwater. It was an artificial “primitive” church based on conjecture and shoddy scholarship. Above all, Tradition as the developing life of the Church was repudiated. The Church established at this or that council of this or that English town in the early centuries of Christianity was not restored by the Protestants. It was broken off and persecuted to extinction except for a few desperate and embittered recusants and perhaps some country priests doing what they could with mobile rood screens and places to hide the vestments and chalice. Continuity of identity? English Christians in the seventh century were not members of the seventeenth century English establishment seeking an end to sectarian civil war. All that was left in the eighteenth century was a dead corpse with decaying churches, and S.S. Wesley going fishing in the river next to Gloucester Cathedral where he was organist during the incredibly long and boring sermons of those days. Religion had become a civic duty and little more. Thus Methodism appealed to the people’s thirst for prayer and spirituality. The Oxford Movement brought doctrine and the Ritualists began to revive the liturgy. People need to eat bread, not stones and dry sand!
. . .
Rome has nothing to gain from a “bait and switch” strategy that would force us to resist and become alienated like the Latin Church’s own traditionalists. They know that and so do we. Nothing will be gained from making the Apostolic Constitution fail, except for liberals who want the Catholic Church simply to go the way of the Anglican Communion (which still includes the American Episcopal Church). . . .

This entry was posted in Anglican, Church, Currents, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Anglican Politics

  1. magdalenaperks says:

    Please note that there are factual errors in the post by Father Chadwick.

  2. The error was about Mary Tudor having been executed. She died a natural death. I have corrected this error in the original posting. If there are other errors, I am the first to recognise that I’m not infallible and constantly learning. Please write to me with corrections – on the e-mail address you will find in my website.

    Fr. Anthony Chadwick

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