Monday, December 18, 2006

Anglicanisms

~excerpted from Open Book

Well, the big weekend news from the Anglican front was the vote by two parishes in Truro and Falls Church, Virginia - two large, historic and flourishing churches - to break from the ECUSA and associate themselves with the Nigerian province.

This is really such an interesting story for all of us, Anglican or not, to follow - especially us RC's. The very visible tensions, fracturing and now near-schism in the Anglican Communion (illustrated not only by this move, but by the statement by hundred of English evangelically-oriented Anglicans that they would not accept oversight from or support bishops they define as liberal.

One of the points to take away is this: This is what some want the RC Church to look like. No, not the schism, but the more "liberal" Episcopalian mindset. That's what people really want. That would solve our problems. Undoubtedly some do want that, and on a practical level, live out their faith and beliefs in a way that's closer to ECUSA than to traditional Roman Catholicism. But on an institutional level - it's quite instructive to study what's happened with ECUSA and the Anglican Communion and find that the "new thing that God is doing" as advocates of the "reappraising" persepctive like to put it - is not functioning as a source of unity. There seems to be something about a disengagement from traditional Christian faith and its traditional sources that doesn't exactly pack them in.

One is tempted to look at this and say, "So what?" So what if the Anglican Communion disintegrates? It's an historical entity - it's already diverse, has had its worthy offshoots. From the outside, it is sometimes difficult to see the reason for the massive outpouring of anxiety and grief, especially since the meaning of "Communion" between people who believe radically different things about Scripture and its authority is questionable.

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