The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity. St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy. He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort...St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day. This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Unpopularity of Anglican Catholics

Recently I wrote about the unpopularity of Nathaniel Woodard. In fact, it has to be admitted that we Anglican Catholics are, like the early Christians, among the most disliked of humanity. The visceral English hatred of Catholicism (if you haven't, despite my urgings, read Dr Dawkins' diatribe against Catholicism - in the Washington Post - you should do so) provides one reason. Englishmen, brainwashed for centuries about Popery, very naturally did not take kindly to walking into their Parish Church and find that the new Vicar had apparently introduced it there. Probably the clergyman concerned showed them the Ornaments Rubric of the Book of Common Prayer, which, if taken plainly and literally, says that the ornaments of the Church and the Minister should be as they were in 1548 - the year before the first Prayer Book came in. They couldn't see the flaw in his logic, although they were convinced that there must be one since what he was saying and doing flew in the face of everything they thought they knew. So another element came into play: the dislike that the Plain Englishman has for the Cleverclogs. Victorian parishes were flooded with rumours that the new 'Ritualist' parson was a "Jesuit in disguise", since, as everyone knew, Jesuits were as amazingly clever as they were totally unprincipled.

And the RC church just up the road didn't like what was going on close by, either. The simple distinction between Catholic and Protestant had suited them very well...

Read the rest of Fr. Hunwicke's discerning post at Liturgical Notes.

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