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Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Monday, November 08, 2010

Oh, good, just what my church needs ....

more conservatives :( - First group of Anglican bishops to convert to Rome. Here's part of a post in The Guardian from Anglican Bishop Alan Wilson .....

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The flying bishops crash to earth

The resignation of England's southern flying bishops comes as no surprise. I have long liked and admired Andrew Burnham as a colleague, and I'm delighted that, having identified his true spiritual home, he has taken the courageous step of actually doing something about it, and joining the denomination within which his spiritual life and ministry can truly flourish. He meant it when he said earlier this year:

"Traditionalists have been beaten four-square. When ... the Measure comes into force, there will be no more Resolution A and B, no more 'petitioning parishes'. There will be no more 'flying bishops', no more Beverley, Ebbsfleet, and Richborough. There will be again the assurance of good behaviour: no one will be overfaced by women priests and bishops ministering where they are not wanted. But there will be no guarantees ... Avoiding women ministers will become not a conviction about Catholic Order, shared throughout the ages, but a matter of sexual discrimination, abhorrent to all of us."

As the term "traditionalist" inflates, it takes in people with completely incompatible theologies whose only commonality seems to be objection to the monstrous regiment. Inquiring minds wonder how this can have nothing to do with gender discrimination.

Younger people than me just don't understand how avoiding women ministers can be disconnected from gender discrimination. Busmen went on strike in the 1960s against black people being allowed to drive buses, protesting that this was not racial discrimination. Yeah, right. Unfortunately, back on planet Earth, discriminatory is as discriminatory does. You can say your tradition mandates this discrimination, but not that it isn't what it manifestly is. Why should anybody wish to be deceived? .........

[I]n 1994, the Church of England, in embarrassment and kindness attempted an ecclesiological three card trick: simultaneously to have and not have female priests, depending on your point of view. The hard truth that no one was convinced can hardly be a surprise. Neither is it kind to carry on pretending about basic ecclesiology. With hindsight, perhaps the whole charade caused rather more pain than it ever saved.

What it has also done is sour the church's ability to celebrate the gift of female priestly ministries. With the endgame approaching for Anglo-Papalism, increasingly shrill traditionalist noises have only increased the dissonance. The Church needs to trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit that it thinks it has received and confirmed in practice, as well as respecting the women it has ordained sufficiently to act as though it believed in their orders wholeheartedly. That's all, but anything less is ecclesiological mincemeat ..........

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23 Comments:

Anonymous Henry said...

I read about this and it's great news! So yes, this is exactly what we need. I say, keep them coming. Better yet, let's invite our willful heterodox (a.k.a. "modernist") brothers and sisters to join the "protestants" - it's a fair trade. They are, after all, wolves in sheep's clothing anyway.

Pax my friend.

5:19 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

BTW, here's the statement issued by them: http://www.forwardinfaith.com/artman/publish/article_521.shtml

8:41 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Henry,

Sigh :( I think those guys are dopes. If they wanted so much to be Catholic, why not just convert as everyone else has done all these years before? They want to have their cake and eat it too - they want to be priests (or retired bishops) while still being married, etc. The only thing conservative Catholics and they have in common is homophobia and misogyny.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

What's happening in the Anglican community is sad - really sad. But St. John Henry Newman saw this coming a very long time ago.

Well, I guess I would counter your jab at “conservative’ Catholics by saying that the one thing "liberal" catholycs have in common is that they are willing to trim the Truth to fit today's fashions. And, they are children of Humpty Dumpty, especially when he is speaking to Alice about words.

Seriously though, don't you think it's silly for both of us to reduce the Faith to political categories like "conservative" or "liberal" when "orthodox" and "heterodox" are more accurate?

The Anglican’s need lots of prayer.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Mike L said...

I am not so sure the Catholic Church will find them so conservative :). For many decades they have certainly accepted contraception, and I wonder where else their beliefs differ from the Catholic teachings. If they come in mass we may find even more diversity in the Church, and more division.

Henry, I find your comment about inviting the modernist Catholic to join the protestants quite insulting. Do you really desire to go back to a Church that approves of torture? That says mass in a foreign language? That burns heretics? That blames the Jews for Christ's death?

I consider myself somewhat a modernist, at least in the sense of looking forward to some changes in the Church, but have no intention what-so-ever of giving up the Sacraments as you suggest I do.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Hi Mike.

I intentionally used the word "willful" and yes, if it's willful heterodoxy I stand by my statement. However to make the leap from believing that willful Modernist apostates should acknowledge that they have, in essence, left Christ's original Church to endorsing torture, burning of heretics, blaming Jews, etc., is simply far fetched. I don't mind hyperbole but this is really a stretch Mike.

Regarding the term “modernist”, I am specifically using it the way Pope St. Pius X used to describe a heresy in the Church and not as it is used in general parlance.

Lastly, looking forward to certain “changes in the Church” does not necessarily mean that a person is being willfully heterodox and/or heretical. I am saying that because I too look forward to certain changes.

Lastly, I want you to know that if I had you or Crystal (or any of the other blog readers in mind) I would actually tell you that I think you are a Modernist, heretic, etc., and why – and I hope you’d do the same for me. Why? Because to point out when someone may be deviating from the teachings of Christ as He reveals them through His divinely appointed vehicle – the Church – is an act of love for the person’s destiny.

Yes, I admit that my style often sucks but that’s because of my great faults. I, however, try to value the Truth above all else – as you and Crystal do too.

Pax mi amigo.

9:57 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Henry,

I think the CofE will be fine. As one writer pointed out, this year they had about 600 applicant to be priests in the UK, and the Catholic church had about 30.

The trouble with using orthodox and heterodox instead of liberal and conservative, or progressive and traditional, is that your terms make one wrong and one right. The conservatives are not orthodox, they are not right, conservative :)

1:51 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Mike,

Yeah, those Anglicans who come over will be something of a mixed bag. I think even they have no idea what they're getting into. They are pretty conservative, though - they're mostly leaving their church because they don't want women and gays to be bishops. They're defined by their fears and hatreds :(

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

In its etymological meaning the word orthodox referred to a “person holding a right opinion” and the Oxford English dictionary defines it as: “Right, correct, true; in accordance with what is accepted or authoritatively established as the true view or right practice.”

So, if we are sitting in the same room and I look out the window and say, “wow, Crystal, it’s really raining hard” and you say “No, it’s really sunny” and at that precise moment Mike walks in and we ask him to look out the window and tell us if it is sunny or raining and he says it is sunny then your opinion is “orthodox.”

Now, Christ held a piece of bread and said: “this” [i.e., what I am holding] “is my Body”, He held a cup with wine…” and the Church which Christ founded and maintains has taught from the beginning that the Eucharist is therefore objectively the entire risen Christ present now, in time and space. So, if I teach that it is only a symbol then I hold a heterodox view – that is, I am wrong.

What’s the problem with that? Doesn’t it conform to the Truth?

I agree that not all conservatives are “orthodox” and vice versa but the Church should not be reduced to a political party. And using the terms “conservative” and “liberal” do just that – they reduce an organism to an organization. Bad ecclesiology!

2:16 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

I guess you're defining heterodox as someone who disagrees with church doctrine. That makes sense, I guess. In that case, I'd say that while I am interested in church doctrine, I don't think it always follows from what Jesus taught, and that what Jesus taught is more important to me than church doctrine. The hard thing for me is figuring out what Jesus did say, what that meant, and how to imagine what he might have said about issues on which he didn't actually comment.

3:53 PM  
Blogger Mike L said...

Henry,

From looking at the various definitions of orthodox, I find that they do not mean conforming to reality but rather to the "accepted" belief. Thus a Catholic might be orthodox Catholic, but heterodox Christian.

And of course as beliefs do change, the Church did at one time approve of torture, and it did condemn all forms of contraception, including NFP, one could have been orthodox at one time and now heterodox, or perhaps reversed. Doesn't sound like a good definition to me.

As for me, I guess by your definition that I am heterodox since I do not believe the Church's political teaching in terms of same-sex marriage and other oppositions to civil law. I still maintain I am a Catholic although I probably still fit in the category you invited to become Protestant.

Hugs,

Mike L

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Mike,

You are presupposing that “right belief” doesn’t conform to “reality” but I don’t think that’s always true, especially in the Faith. In fact, my third paragraph was an example of where they coincide. The analogy about the rain vs. sunny was a preamble to that paragraph, but, like all analogies, it breaks down.

You wrote: “…a Catholic might be [an] orthodox Catholic, but heterodox Christian.” Can you give me a concrete example of this? I don't understand what you are trying to say and an example would help.

Regarding your “beliefs do change” paragraph, what changed? Disciplines? Doctrines? Dogmas? It’s a long discussion which I am willing to have but not tonight – can I ask you to be patient? I can tell you from my study of Church History that “heresy” is often a “good” for the Church because it forces Her to clarify what She believes.

As for labeling yourself “heterodox” I can’t really judge whether you are right and I am not going to try. The Church’s teaching about SS unions, the murder of unborn children in the womb, and other “pelvic” issues stem from Her understanding of what this thing called “the Human person” is and not because She is interested in having a “political” position. We had started to discuss this via e-mail and stopped (my fault) so I’d like to resurrect it. Not to persuade you but to understand. After all, perhaps we each have blind spots that need to be brought to light (Crystal, I am happy to keep you in the loop if you wish.)

Well, I don’t think I’ve ever implied that you weren’t a Catholic and if I unintentionally did, then I apologize. I am not so much “inviting” as asking that they “acknowledge” that they are already Protestant – or better yet, that they use Protestant criterion to judge the Catholic Christian Faith. For example, the principle of Sola Scriptura is a 100% Protestant construction and “Catholics” who subscribe to that principle are actually Protestants and they should acknowledge that. I think it’s reasonable to expect “advertising” to be truthful – that’s all I am saying.

Hugs back Mike. I always enjoy the conversations with you and Crystal.

Pax,

Henry

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Mike,

You are presupposing that “right belief” doesn’t conform to “reality” but I don’t think that’s always true, especially in the Faith. In fact, my third paragraph was an example of where they coincide. The analogy about the rain vs. sunny was a preamble to that paragraph, but, like all analogies, it breaks down.

You wrote: “…a Catholic might be [an] orthodox Catholic, but heterodox Christian.” Can you give me a concrete example of this? I don't understand what you are trying to say and an example would help.

Regarding your “beliefs do change” paragraph, what changed? Disciplines? Doctrines? Dogmas? It’s a long discussion which I am willing to have but not tonight – can I ask you to be patient? I can tell you from my study of Church History that “heresy” is often a “good” for the Church because it forces Her to clarify what She believes.

continued next comment

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

As for labeling yourself “heterodox” I can’t really judge whether you are right and I am not going to try. The Church’s teaching about SS unions, the murder of unborn children in the womb, and other “pelvic” issues stem from Her understanding of what this thing called “the Human person” is and not because She is interested in having a “political” position. We had started to discuss this via e-mail and stopped (my fault) so I’d like to resurrect it. Not to persuade you but to understand. After all, perhaps we each have blind spots that need to be brought to light (Crystal, I am happy to keep you in the loop if you wish.)

Well, I don’t think I’ve ever implied that you weren’t a Catholic and if I unintentionally did, then I apologize. I am not so much “inviting” as asking that they “acknowledge” that they are already Protestant – or better yet, that they use Protestant criterion to judge the Catholic Christian Faith. For example, the principle of Sola Scriptura is a 100% Protestant construction and “Catholics” who subscribe to that principle are actually Protestants and they should acknowledge that. I think it’s reasonable to expect “advertising” to be truthful – that’s all I am saying.

Hugs back Mike. I always enjoy the conversations with you and Crystal.

Pax,

Henry

7:55 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Henry,

Just one thought before I go to bed ... all the defining that we do, like whether someone is a protestant or catholic, seems to me to be artificial and inaccurate. I look forward in a way to when we're dead and there won't be any religion or church anymore, just us and God.

2:10 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

I hope you slept well Crystal.

It may surprise you to know that I actually agree with you, or rather, with the sadness I sense behind your words. I am personally tired of all the polemics, all the negativity, all the polarization that I see on the Web and in the Church. And one of the things that upsets me most is that I contribute to it. (I’ve done a lot of terrible things in my life but I wonder if this is actually the worse!) All the bickering, all the writing, all the arguing, affects me and it doesn’t really reflect my experience as a Catholic Christian. When I reflect on the things I’ve written or the things I’ve read that others have written I don’t see the newness that Christ brings, all I see is that we accept the categories that the “power” has educated us to accept as legitimate.

My experience being a follower of Christ is summed up in two words freedom and joy. A freedom that allows me to be open to and interested in everything; a joy that’s generated by a relationship I have with Christ, a joy that’s a point of certainty and stability in the whirlwind of life. When I read the Gospels, when I read about Zacchaeus, I see my experience because I met that gaze. You and Mike must have met it too. Why don’t we talk about that? Why isn’t that discussed on the Web by everyone?

For example, I’ve been reflecting on Zacchaeus a lot lately and I’ve been especially asking myself why did he climb the tree? What motivated him to climb the tree? And I am not talking about the fact that he was short and couldn’t see, I am talking about what moved his heart to do it? That question fascinates me!

Sure, there are things that we will probably never agree on but is that, in the end, really that important? Are those differences so vital that it justifies increasing the weight of pain already in the world? I am convinced that the things we agree on are actually greater than the things we disagree on.

So, starting today, I want to “fast” from polemics by trying to convey the beauty of the road we are traveling on together. That's probably a better way to "defend the Faith" anyway.

Pax,

Henry

5:35 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Henry,

I think about Zacchaeus too. In the Spiritual Exercises, people are asked to imagine themselves in the gospel stories - a kind of imaginative contemplation - and I've tried to imagine how I'd feel if I was Zacchaeus ... I can almost get it, that feeling of excitement and terror and doubt and hope. I wish it didn't just have to be imagining.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Mike L said...

Henry,

Got behind in checking blog responses. We are in the process of running out to buy wood, varnish it, and install it on the ceiling. Been using up most of my energy :).

As I understand it, orthodox and heterodox do NOT refer to reality but rather to accepted belief systems. Thus the orthodox Catholic would be a heterodox protestant since he denied "solo scriptura". Thus we also have orthodox Jews who we might consider heterodox :).

As to what changed in the Church's teaching, that is always hard to name. I guess if it changed one would have to say it was not dogma, wouldn't one. Yet I think the earlier Church ban on all forms of contraception or acceptance of torture was thought of as dogma.

I think the Church is interested in having a political position with the "pelvic" issues, there is certainly enough money spend in trying to influence elections. While I might very much agree with Her teachings, I certainly disagree with her methods of trying to enforce beliefs of non-Catholics, which seems to be reason enough for many bishops to claim I was not 100% Catholic and exclude me from their Church.

Crystal, I agree with you that there are too many definitions, and many do not agree with whatever reality is. I think St. Thomas recognized that the Church would take his model and try to force reality to match it before he died. Perhaps it was unfortunate that it was too late to destroy his writings and perhaps his model is a good start, but I think we have to recognize it as a logical construct, which all definitions are. Descriptions are what tell us about reality, not the definition that my mind generates.

Henry, I have figured out how to keep track of answering long responses. I bought a new laptop, and I can read one response while typing my response on my desktop. Ah, modern contrivances :).

Hugs to all,

Mike L

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Got behind in checking blog responses. We are in the process of running out to buy wood, varnish it, and install it on the ceiling. Been using up most of my energy :). Me too Mike - I just came back from a trip.



As I understand it, orthodox and heterodox do NOT refer to reality but rather to accepted belief systems. Thus the orthodox Catholic would be a heterodox protestant since he denied "solo scriptura". Thus we also have orthodox Jews who we might consider heterodox :). I agree that they normally do not but in the Catholic Christian Faith their they do sometimes coincide (e.g., the Eucharist, the Resurrection, etc.) Thanks for the examples, they really helped me understand what you were saying.



As to what changed in the Church's teaching, that is always hard to name. I guess if it changed one would have to say it was not dogma, wouldn't one. Yet I think the earlier Church ban on all forms of contraception or acceptance of torture was thought of as dogma. I am not sure if the examples you cite were dogmas, I’ll have to check. So, let me get back to you on that once I’ve done my research.



I think the Church is interested in having a political position with the "pelvic" issues, there is certainly enough money spend in trying to influence elections. While I might very much agree with Her teachings, I certainly disagree with her methods of trying to enforce beliefs of non-Catholics, which seems to be reason enough for many bishops to claim I was not 100% Catholic and exclude me from their Church. This is tricky and, in some ways, seems to imply that the Church should be absent from the public sphere. I am not sure what methods you are referring to and I am not sure that She is “enforcing” her beliefs on non-Catholics. Moreover, speaking for myself, I certainly see the “state” gladly willing to enforce it’s beliefs on Children even when the parents have explicitly said that they want their children to opt out. Another example I can cite is that I really don’t want my money which is taken from my paycheck for taxes to be used for things that I am morally against, etc. 



Crystal, I agree with you that there are too many definitions, and many do not agree with whatever reality is. I think St. Thomas recognized that the Church would take his model and try to force reality to match it before he died. Perhaps it was unfortunate that it was too late to destroy his writings and perhaps his model is a good start, but I think we have to recognize it as a logical construct, which all definitions are. Descriptions are what tell us about reality, not the definition that my mind generates. This is something that interests me tremendously and one day we should discuss it in detail via e-mail!!! 



Henry, I have figured out how to keep track of answering long responses. I bought a new laptop, and I can read one response while typing my response on my desktop. Ah, modern contrivances :). Just don’t get whiplash going back and fourth my friend. 



Hugs to all, ditto



6:40 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Got behind in checking blog responses. We are in the process of running out to buy wood, varnish it, and install it on the ceiling. Been using up most of my energy :). Me too Mike - I just came back from a trip.



As I understand it, orthodox and heterodox do NOT refer to reality but rather to accepted belief systems. Thus the orthodox Catholic would be a heterodox protestant since he denied "solo scriptura". Thus we also have orthodox Jews who we might consider heterodox :). I agree that they normally do not but in the Catholic Christian Faith their they do sometimes coincide (e.g., the Eucharist, the Resurrection, etc.) Thanks for the examples, they really helped me understand what you were saying.



As to what changed in the Church's teaching, that is always hard to name. I guess if it changed one would have to say it was not dogma, wouldn't one. Yet I think the earlier Church ban on all forms of contraception or acceptance of torture was thought of as dogma. I am not sure if the examples you cite were dogmas, I’ll have to check. So, let me get back to you on that once I’ve done my research.



I think the Church is interested in having a political position with the "pelvic" issues, there is certainly enough money spend in trying to influence elections. While I might very much agree with Her teachings, I certainly disagree with her methods of trying to enforce beliefs of non-Catholics, which seems to be reason enough for many bishops to claim I was not 100% Catholic and exclude me from their Church. This is tricky and, in some ways, seems to imply that the Church should be absent from the public sphere. I am not sure what methods you are referring to and I am not sure that She is “enforcing” her beliefs on non-Catholics. Moreover, speaking for myself, I certainly see the “state” gladly willing to enforce it’s beliefs on Children even when the parents have explicitly said that they want their children to opt out. Another example I can cite is that I really don’t want my money which is taken from my paycheck for taxes to be used for things that I am morally against, etc. 



6:42 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Crystal, I agree with you that there are too many definitions, and many do not agree with whatever reality is. I think St. Thomas recognized that the Church would take his model and try to force reality to match it before he died. Perhaps it was unfortunate that it was too late to destroy his writings and perhaps his model is a good start, but I think we have to recognize it as a logical construct, which all definitions are. Descriptions are what tell us about reality, not the definition that my mind generates. This is something that interests me tremendously and one day we should discuss it in detail via e-mail!!! 



Henry, I have figured out how to keep track of answering long responses. I bought a new laptop, and I can read one response while typing my response on my desktop. Ah, modern contrivances :). Just don’t get whiplash going back and fourth my friend. 



Hugs to all, ditto



6:42 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

I am sorry Crystal about my posts. I try to post, I get an error message, I then divide the post, and then all the posts show up - strange!

Pax,

Henry

6:45 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

No worries :)

8:09 PM  

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