May 18, 2007

That's My Church!



Actually, I don't have that much to say at the moment. But my minder** has dropped by here looking for fresh bloviation several times in the past few days and, well, I feel kind of bad not serving anything up.

Not that there haven't been those trying to prod me. Steve-O dropped a link to the story about Tony Blair swimming the Tiber, wondering whether I might beat him to it. Meanwhile, the Colossus has been leaving tidbits about the South American Anglicans moving to pick off some more dissident TEC diocese, the break-away Fort Worth being a prime candidate. And I see just today that OpinionJournal has an article about the conversion to Rome of Francis Beckwith, a well-known Evangelical bigwig, and NRO has a book review of a new history of the Catholic Church from WWI to the present that, I gather, seeks to overturn a lot of the conventional wisdom (e.g., the Pope was a Nazi stooge).

In the meantime, I've got a stack of reading material through which I am slowly and painfully working that includes Cardinal Newman, Chesterton, Lewis, a bunch of modern conversion testiments and Anglican Catholic Faith and Practice (since, frankly, in my ponderings to date I'm still more inclined to Orthodox Anglicanism than to making the jump all the way). I say "slowly and painfully" because I try only to read this sort of thing when I'm completely alone and undisturbed, and I only seem to have about a twenty minute window of such conditions most days before I lose consciousness.

On the local front, we've got our "discussions" of the Draft Anglican Covenant 'N Study Guide coming up the next two Wednesdays. I suppose I should be getting stirred up for these, but I'm finding it hard, largely because I believe absolutely nothing I say is going to have the slightest impact on anything. To me, trying to fight for reform from within ECUSA now is, to borrow from Douglas Adams, the equivalent of trying to convert Farenheit to centigrade in your head while your house is burning down and, somehow, simply doesn't seem worth it anymore.

** I'll tell you all about what this means some other time.

UPDATE: Oh and by the way, congrats to Dean, whose feelings about the Eucharist I, of course, echo whole-heartedly.

Posted by Robert at May 18, 2007 02:47 PM | TrackBack

A Lutheran theology professor also recently crossed:

He reasoned himself out of Sola Scriptura, and Sole Fide was, for him, sufficiently resolved by the 1998 Joint Declaration.

I think that some of the mainline Protestant churches are caught in a vise. Their respective leaders/theologians are, in many cases, moving to positions too liberal to be compatible with traditional Christianity, and yet they cannot embrace a congregationalist ecclesiology, so the only alternatives are Rome, (or perhaps Athens).

I think the north/south split in Anglicanism will continue to widen. I personally think Akinola is already closer to Rome than Canterbury.

The Episcopal Church has, as I see it, a central problem, which is that if it cannot kick out Bishop Spong, or Fr. Matthew Fox (google the "cosmic mass" if you want to read what he's up to), or reject the syncretism of Bishop Swing (the United Religions Initiative), all of whom are embracing things that are incompatible with traditional Christianity, it has no mean of preserving, much less passing on, the truth as revealed to the Apostles. If no one can get kicked out for heresy, then ultimately the church believes nothing.

The Catholic Church is always criticized for being tough on heretics. But that is one reason why it survives -- at heart it really does believe that the Bible and tradition mean something. If you stand up and say that we need to worship the mother-goddess Gaia, you'll eventually be excommunicated. People hate the church for it, but it is done out of true belief.

Posted by: The Colossus at May 18, 2007 03:25 PM

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s laughter and dancing and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!

-Hillaire Belloc

Robbo, you need more laughter and dancing. Skip Newman and read Chesterton.

Posted by: Mrs. Peperium at May 18, 2007 04:34 PM

Or, simply go to the source, and pray over it. I doubt I can argue you into the Catholic Church; and reason is, in my view, a temperamental and inadequate guide.

Ask the Savior where he wants you; he will show you where he wants you to be. That's the simplest way. Though I love the theological issues and the scholastic proof as much as anyone, they are nothing compared to what is revealed in our heart of hearts by Christ.

Posted by: The Colossus at May 18, 2007 05:25 PM

Colossus, you're right - we can't argue him in. It's either going to happpen -and, for a lack of better words, all Hell breaks loose, or it doesn't happen. Frankly, my bet's on Robbo and all Hell's breaking loose because he's quite the guy, father, and husband.

Even if he loathes Evelyn Waugh... Robbo, someday Evelyn on the of us has to jump...

Posted by: Mrs. Peperium at May 18, 2007 09:17 PM

Glad to remain an LCMS Lutheran. "The original Protestants."

Posted by: Hucbald at May 19, 2007 12:07 AM

Yeah, when you are kicking the tires, and looking at the rituals from the back row, it doesn't look too bad.

But then take a look at the Society of Jesus - the Jesuits. They are still around, and as near as I can determine never renounced their deeds in the new world. I'm not really sure they changed their ways, just turned to keeping a lower profile the last century or two. (these are the guys who ran the Conquistadors and other efforts to spread and enforce the word... with what appears to be a Jack-Bauer-like zeal.)

The liturgy can be beautiful, the cathedrals certainly are beautiful, but that ain't the whole enchilada.

But then I feel that way about most Christianity these days. Or the whole of the Levant when if comes down to it. We are right. You are devils (or devil worshipers) and deserve to (fill in your favorite blank-filler). The Moslem's answer - or so it appears - is almost always die. Christendoms' answer was similar until recently. What do you think happened in Srebrenica? 8000 Moslems were killed by the Christians in July of 1995 - not that long ago now I think on it.

Any tradition that maintains its infallible by default if not explicitly says that everyone else is going to hell, is free-target for conversion or killing, or whatever. Some are more polite about it, and speak of "tolerance," but that only means, "you are going to burn in hell for your beliefs, but it is no skin off my nose."

Posted by: Zendo Deb at May 20, 2007 09:51 PM

I just want to point out how very rough this all is on the Unitarian-Universalists (hereafter, "Unie-Unies".) All through the fifties and sixties there was a very nice brand differentiation for them: folks who wanted leftie peace-and-social-justice church, and light demands on the belief side, would leave the relatively conservative mainstream protestant churches and go Unie-Unie. Result: Unie-Unies got a constant stream of new attenders, the Birkenstock people sold lots of sandals, and the Piskies and Presbyterians also had a relatively uniform group of communicants whose worship preferences they could provide.
Then, the Birkenstockers got control of the Piskies and Presbyterians. Result: many fewer communicants felt a need to go to the Unie-Unies to get what they wanted, but turmoil and confusion in the mainstream churches. All in all, tough times on Beacon Street. I realize that your concern is for the Piskies, but do spare a tear for the Unie-Unies, whose cosy situation has deteriorated.

Posted by: dave.s. at May 21, 2007 07:59 AM


I think you are confusing the Jesuits with the Dominicans. The Jesuits did not have a mission in the New World until 1549, fully 30 years after the conquistadors, and that was in Brazil, in the Portuguese colony, not in the Spanish colony. The Jesuits did not open in Mexico until 1572, well after the demographic disaster of the valley of Mexico, which was more a result of smallpox than of any persecution by the chuch.
The Dominicans are usually the ones portrayed as the villains in the Inquisition. Both wear black.

Even then, subjecting the Indians was not a church enterprise; it was an enterprise of the Spanish state. I guess no one remembers Bartholome de las Casas any more, though, as only the Black Legend is taught to people in schools today.

De las casas:


(Replace -dot-edu with a period and edu, as the spam filter won't accept the link)

The Black Legend.

As for the Jesuits, they are viewed, within the church, as being almost completely liberal, secular, and corrupt today -- hardly the bogeyman of the counter-Reformation that non-Catholics imagine them. The Dominicans also still exist; they run Providence College, among other schools.

Posted by: The Colossus at May 21, 2007 11:12 AM