Friday, October 28, 2005

Where I Am, There Is the Church

Also bouncing around the Anglican blogosphere is a question from All Too Common:

">Are Anglicans Really Catholic?

"Catholic" is of course the most loaded possible word in ecclesiology, so to even begin to confront the question one must pick among its many connotations and denotations. Or one can go straight to the creed, and stick with "universal". Well, OK: that's not good enough either. Better to go straight to the problem claim.

Interpreting "my church is catholic" to mean "my church comprises the entirety of the earthly church" is sectarian. Everyone believes that their own church is part of the "Catholic Church"; in that wise ecclesiology reduces to a rationalization of one's "choice" of church. Given the multiplicity of "one true" churches, and the variety of arguments made for them, I cannot accept the view that rational arguments are going to show us which of the competitors truly is the house of God. Only the presence of God in those places is a truly infallible sign, and if He be found in more than one, then it is clear that the catholicos must encompass more than a single sect.

This is particularly a problem for those who abandon one church for another on the basis of their zeal for the Lord, and especially for clerics who do so. If a priest abandons Canterbury for Rome, and does not denounce all his old "pretense" at sacraments, then when he denounces the legitimacy of his old church on ecclesiological grounds, he is a flaming hypocrite. What I really see is that one's faith can be carried, like luggage, from one church to the next. The actuality of ecclesiology is personal judgement.

Are the Anglican churches by themselves the Catholic Church on earth? No; of course not. Are they of the Catholic Church? Yes; of course they are.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Status Quondam

There's some Anglican blogosphere traffic now about a proposal from Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG as to a more formalized Anglican polity-- that is, respecting the communion as a whole.

I have to agree with J. C. Fisher's assessment: this is nothing more than a condification of the liberal understanding of the current state. And in practice, it will fail for the reason that Thomas Bushnell points out: Akinola et al. insist that what is being done now does affect everyone.

And Akinola does have a point there, and I think the smoke screen about sex vs. theology isn't going to conceal it. As to the latter: it's clear that, for simple theological statements, the Status Quo is utterly disfunctional. No liberal church is going to do anything about a Pike or a Spong, no matter how outrageous their statements. As far as theology is concerned, the communion is now latitudinarian.

But in a "communion", one would tend to understand that sacramental unity is central to the point of what political unity there is. And therefore (for instance) consecration of someone like Robinson does affect everyone, and rites of homosexual marriage or non-marital unions do effect everyone. Besides, the connection between the unitive aspect of sex and the unitve aspect of communion is right there in scripture.

And furthermore, it is apparent that decisions about what actions affect everyone are themselves actions which affect everyone. And indeed, in the status quo we are seeing this being worked out in the current conflict. The American problem is that Robinson's proponents don't like the answer that is being worked out.

The status quo only worked, it appeared, if there weren't any serious issues to disturb it. Now, one way or another, it will fail, and it appears that the communion, and with it, its churches, are headed for formal division.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The TIME "100 Greatest Books" Meme

It was doomed to happen:

Time Magazine puts out a list of the 100 Greatest Novels in Ehglish Since Time began Publishing, and thus everyone must confess how much if one has read.

I've read the following:

  • Animal Farm - George Orwell

  • The Bridge of San Luis Rey - Thornton Wilder

  • Catch-22 - Joseph Heller

  • The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

  • Death Comes for the Archbishop - Willa Cather

  • Go Tell it on the Mountain - James Baldwin

  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis

  • The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien

  • 1984 - George Orwell

  • To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

  • Watchmen - Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

In these cases I've read a different book from the same author:
  • The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood (I read The Handmaid's Tale)

  • The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing (I read several of the "Shikasta" novels)

  • The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (I read The Red Pony)

  • Native Son - Richard Wright (I read Black Boy)

  • The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway (I read The Old Man and the Sea and The Pearl)

  • Ubik - Philip K. Dick (not sure about which one here)

On my list of "to reads":
  • Appointment in Samarra - John O'Hara

  • Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

  • Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


WaiterRant comes through again with theological insight, this time about the demons and the heard of pigs.