Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"the Anglican experiment is over"

It's been an interesting time dealing with the questions resulting from the announcement that the Roman Catholic Church will accept dissident Anglicans into their fold. The first I heard of it was on coffee row one morning. I had just arrived and sat by my rector's warden. He leaned over to me and told me he had heard on the radio that morning that the pope had welcomed Anglicans and would accept me as a priest. But married priests could not become bishops (which is actually not scriptural by the way). I figured that was a little far-fetched. I could see Rome accepting male priests but not a female one.

So home I went to look into this. And of course I came to understand that it was dissident Anglicans who could not just accept people like me being ordained or consecrated as bishops. And the reality is that some present Anglicans may well swim the Tiber but most who accept this offer left the Anglican Communion a while ago.

So, you can imagine the rumours flying around, the most prominent being that the Anglican and Roman Catholic Church were going to join. My first statement when someone says that to me (and it is usually someone from the Roman Catholic Church) is that the Roman Catholic Church will be accepting our disaffected Anglicans and trouble makers (please accept that this is said tongue in cheek). My next is to explain the reality on the ground.

But official responses have been interesting. One especially caught my attention and caused a response. The Telegraph in England has a quote from the Right Reverend John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham in which he claims that "the Anglican experiment is over."

Does this speak loudly about the type of people leaving or what? This man considers that because a certain small portion of the Anglican Communion might possibly consider swimming the Tiber, including himself possibly, 500 hundred years of struggling to grow into ourselves and God's will for us is now over. To me that is the height of arrogance - which (and I know that I am not being PC in this) is a trait I associate with the more vocal opponents of women's ordination. (And I will stress the more vocal part of that statement as I do know some very wonderful and gracious people who don't support WO but are not arrogantly vocal about it.) It is typical that it is their way or the highway and that somehow they alone know exactly what it is that God wills. Or at least that is how a number of them come across.

I firmly believe that "the Anglican experiment" is far from over. What we are experiencing is our growing pains as we grow more fully into who we are meant to be and as we struggle with discerning what that is. I think we still have something of great value to offer those searching for a spiritual home. And I firmly believe that we will survive this and grow closer to God for having been refined by all the fires we are going through.

On a lighter note here are what Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart have to say about all this. Enjoy and please take these with a sense of humour. Anglicans will see the glaring errors in some of their understandings.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie +


MadPriest said...

That Broadhurst uses the phrase "Anglican experiment" shows that he has very little knowledge of the church in Britain (although I expect he is also being disingenuous).

For the first 600 odd years of Christianity there was a native, orthodox church in the British Isles almost completely independent from Rome. After Pope Gregory invaded the south of England in the 7th. Century, the two churches existed side by side for centuries, although the RC church became more and more dominant during that period. However, English monarchs always resisted papal interference and the church in England even had its own rite (Sarum). In the early 16th Century we reverted to our original situation of national orthodoxy. Therefore, it would be more correct to label the period of RC dominance as an experiment that failed.

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