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Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Falcon Cannot Hear the Falconer

The Rt. Rev. Brian Marsh, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church in America, has decided the ACA cannot accept Pope Benedict's offer, via Anglicanorum Coetibus, of an ordinariate wherein Anglicans may be received into the Catholic Church but still preserve much of their worship tradition. The reason for rejection of this remarkable offer from the Pope, it seems, is His Grace's horrifying discovery that when one is received into the Catholic Church one becomes (brace yourself) Catholic. Nobody told him, I guess.

Bishop Marsh is also chagrined when one joins the Catholic Church one must subscribe to, in entirety, the Catechism of the Catholic Church; the Book of Common Prayer will not obtain in the ordinariate. I can empathize with His Grace: the BCP (the good one, from 1928, or 1662) is not only prayerful (naturally) but also contain some of the most beautiful English ever written; to this day I keep an old and battered 1928 BCP, presented to me at my confirmation, at hand. Bishop Marsh, however, ought to have another look at a key component found in the BCP, the Articles of Religion, then ask himself if it is really that great a mystery or injustice that the Prayer Book is unacceptable to the Holy Catholic Church. Article X on free-will or Article XXII on purgatory should by themselves be sufficient to that purpose.

I find myself increasingly dismayed by Anglicans who call themselves catholics yet nevertheless find numerous objections to their becoming Catholics, despite there now being a generous provision encouraging them to do so. Organizations like the Anglican Church in America, and its nearly countless alphabet soup counterparts, are where they are today because the Episcopal Church whence they come lacked magisterium to fend off the corrupting influence of our contemporary culture. They can fight the good fight on their own, of course, and  I wish them well, but it seems unlikely, regardless their fervent espousal of Prayer Book and Branch Theory, they can prevail against an enemy even the mighty Catholic Church must struggle valiantly against. Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.

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