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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Catholic tales

The first Anglicans have received into the Roman Catholic Church under a scheme set up by Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict XVI leads the New Year solemn mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Photo: EPA

A headline from The Telegraph in January 2011:

"First Anglicans are received into the Roman Catholic Church in historic service. The first Anglicans have been received into the Roman Catholic Church under a scheme set up by Pope Benedict XVI." 

After five years I am pleased for those Anglicans who have made the journey and have found contentment but there are still many Anglicans who are unable or unwilling to make the same journey for a variety of reasons even though their own church has left them.

I greatly admire Pope Benedict XVI. He showed great courage in setting up the Ordinariate. I am pleased that his vision has been a success but I feel less affection for a church which has caused so much misery to so many in the name of Christ.

Families built on 'mixed' marriages over many generations will have experienced refusal to recognise marriages, rejection of children and cruelty meted out by nuns, Christian Brothers and the like. Not having been directly on the receiving end, it is easy for me to say it is the message not the messenger but that has not prevented those who have suffered refusing to return, often leaving a gap in their lives. I find that so sad.

What amazes me is the ignorance of many cradle Catholics, not just the laity but priests too, who appear to regard non-Catholics (separated brethren) as though they are barely Christian and doomed to purgatory. Ironically many Anglo Catholics are probably more 'Roman' in their worship than many cradle RCs so I was particularly disappointed to read a well respected blogger penning  Eucharistic Miracles and Protestants? Perhaps it is simply the zeal of a Pauline convert or the perception of a former Evangelical but I do not recognise my fellow worshippers in this description as they genuflect to the Blessed Sacrament:

"Protestants deny the truth of transubstantiation... Nevertheless, when Protestants get upset that they are not admitted to communion in a Catholic Church, Eucharistic miracles remind us that Catholic do actually believe that something different is going on at Mass. Sure, we share baptism and faith in Jesus Christ with non Catholic Christians, but they themselves deny transubstantiation so I always wonder why they get upset when we affirm their denial and say they shouldn’t come to communion."

This was the Conclusion of the 1971 ARCIC declaration on Eucharistic Doctrine:

[12.] We believe that we have reached substantial agreement on the doctrine of the eucharist. Although we are all conditioned by the traditional ways in which we have expressed and practised our eucharistic faith, we are convinced that if there are any remaining points of disagreement they can be resolved on the principles here established. We acknowledge a variety of theological approaches within both our communions. But we have seen it as our task to find a way of advancing together beyond the doctrinal disagreements of the past. It is our hope that, in view of the agreement which we have reached on eucharistic faith, this doctrine will no longer constitute an obstacle to the unity we seek.

There has been more dissent born out of ignorance reported in the blogsphere. From Fr Hunwicke in Tales from the Ordinariate (2) and Twisting a Tale of the Ordinariate from Antique Richborough which thankfully offers more hope.

Amidst this squabbling it was another piece which caught my eye in the 'Catholicism Pure & Simple' blog, The Biggest News Story Never Told. - "What’s the biggest news story of our time? What has been the biggest story for the last decade and one-half? Answer: the resurgence of Islam, and, in particular, the rapid spread of Islamic jihad. But, with a few exceptions, you would never know it from reading the Catholic press."..."Catholic bloggers and journalists are still fighting yesterday’s battles without seeming to realize that we are in the midst of a new battle." [My emphasis - Ed.]

Christianity is being wiped out in the Middle East. It is frequently mocked in the West as secularism replaces faith. It does not help if people of faith opt for blind obedience out of fear. Fear God, yes, but worshippers should not be frightened into submission. That is Islam. God gave us free will. We should use it to unite in hope, not divide. 


  1. If one is not a Catholic,then one is a Protestant (or an Orthodox Christian).
    The word Anglican came into being with the spread of the British Empire.
    ARCIC is a talking shop and rather meaningless.
    There is no accuracy in the statement that Protestants are condemned to purgatory.
    There is equally as much ignorance in all branches of Christianity, and since you refer to abuse there is equally as much in all churches,in fact all walks of life.
    It is rare that I see so much to challenge.

    1. The word "Anglicanism" is a 19th-Century coining, attributed by the O.E.D. to an anonymous article in the May 1836 issue of "The Dublin Review" and, secondly, to J. H. Newman in "The British Critic" in 1838. But there is one earlier precursor, which appeared in 1616 in a Catholic polemic against Protestantism entitled "Tessaradelphus, Or The Foure Brothers" written by the pseudonymous Thomas Harrab. The four brothers are, according to Harrab, Lutheranisme, Calvinisme, Anabaptisme, and Anglicanisme. In his introductory "To the Reader," Harrab writes "I call the religion of England Anglicanisme, because it among the rest hath no one especiall Authour, but is sette forth by the Prince, and Parliament." In his Ch. VII, "Of Anglicanisme," he claims that some of the Catholic features which Queen Elizabeth retained are growing more and more out of use, and concludes "The Prince with the Parliament may determine of Religion, and what by then is set forth must be observed," a statement which was conformed by the High Court in its decision in the case Williamson v Regina (1994, 1996), on which see:

      (The original case does not appear to have been included in any Law Reports.)

  2. And ARCIC has achieved nothing....other than endless talking/a pleasant social round and the fact that the two communions are further apart than ever.

  3. Meanwhile, followers of a false prophet continue in their efforts to expunge all traces of Christianity from its birthplace, slaughtering Christians in the process without enquiring whether they are Parthians, Medes or Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea or Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome; Cretans or Arabs.
    There is just one question, Do you convert to Islam, pay the Jizya or die? Many have chosen to die for Christ be they Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican or any other branch of Christianity. We owe it to them to try harder.

  4. Thank you .We are in the midst of a new battle and all Christians need to man the front ,whether they are in the Anglican ,Catholic,orthodox or non conformist divisions of Christ's Army. This is why as a Catholic i worship between a Catholic church and a Baptist church . ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS