Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A priest in the Church of England...

There is another, more thoughtful, post in preparation, but I am very busy and so it will have to wait. In the meanwhile it went to my heart to read this post over at Fr Chadwick's 'blog, Words from a Church of England Cleric (about the Ordinariate). Here is a sample.

I can’t see myself in this ordinariate, much as I welcomed the news of its establishment (and forthcoming “erection” – which word, along with “formation” and “evangelization”, distinguishes the true believer) when I first heard it. The first big shock was to be told that my ordination would be deferred until I had spent a year or so being “mentored” (as part of my “formation”) to familiarize me with the life of the Diocese of Middlesbrough. I had seen my vocation as ministering to C of E members who were on their way out, especially the ordinary middle-England Anglicans whom I have worked with all my life, helping to construct an authentic Anglican home for us in communion with Rome (united, not absorbed), maintaining close contact with those C of E congregations and clergy who had not decided to come out, and sharing with them as much as could be shared. When I hinted at my hopes, the Ordinary and his minder were emphatic that such a thing was unthinkable: You will not be an Anglican, you will be a Catholic. In other words, Come out from among them, and be clean; continuity is not to be looked for, and a complete break with the past is required. They said the C of E would not allow the borrowing of parish churches, but the truth is that they do not really want it themselves, unless it can be done in a watertight “we are Catholics” kind of way. (I know there are clergy round here who would have allowed the occasional or even regular use of an altar, without any edict from above.)

There is no patrimony, no tradition, or culture in the Roman church. Just a vast, hideous lust for the centralization of all things to Rome. Rome has lost her sense of tradition, but seems to confess herself an authority over all other traditions, which have come into being in spite of her. She is filled with intolerance and rage, enraged by the very existence of traditions other than the currently-defined Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms. The reason the Prayerbook and the Authorized Version contain ''errors'' is because they didn't come from Rome. The reason the New Translation of the Missale Romanum is better than the language of Miles Coverdale and Thomas Cranmer is because they weren't curial sycophants in the Vatican, stupefied by the Ultramontane drug. All Rome seeks to do by the Ordinariate is swallow up what is left of the Anglican liturgical patrimony and to spit it back into your face, saying: ''this is your tradition, the one I've just made for you.''

And all these people vainly suppose that the Ordinariate is the greatest thing since Summorum Pontificum, and that Benedict XVI is some kind of hero of ecumenism and liturgical renewal. Well, so far he's doing a bang up job: first there's the liturgical books of 1962, regularised and made immemorial ''tradition'' at the stroke of a pen, notwithstanding the liturgical legislation of his predecessors from the 1960s which demonstrably contradict Benedict's claims. Then there's this new translation, as banal, pretentious and artificial as the Benedictine altar arrangement. I'm sorry but you either face the right way, or you face the wrong way - what difference does a row of candles and a crucifix make? And then the Ordinariate itself. Rome, as generous, benevolent and as wise as a mother reaching out to estranged children. ''Come to me,'' saith she, ''and I will preserve your traditions.'' What a crock of shit!


  1. I understand that following the visit of Benedict XVI last year to Westminster Abbey the Vatican party was so impressed with what they witnessed that a request was sent to the Abbey for oopies of the choir's CD recordings.

    Considering 'Evening Prayer' or whatever the event was advertised as was a very dumbed down service indeed, a sort of 'Choral Liturgy for Dummies' it does bring into sharp focus how much Rome has departed from its own patrimony.

  2. Well, if you'd rather follow the "traditions" of a communion which promotes latitudinarianism, sanctifies sodomy and purports to "ordain" women to holy orders, feel free.

    Most Anglicans also "face the people", by the way.

    But their Cranmer-crafted liturgy (at least, at a handful of places) satisfies you aesthetically, and that's all that matters, eh?

  3. Just a vast, hideous lust for the centralization of all things to Rome.

    Well said.