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Church of England
I was greatly saddened to read the article "The Church of England: beyond satire?" by Fr Peter Mullen, not only because of its content, but as well, its style. I found this reminiscent of the acerbic wit of Dr Rumble MSC, the Catholic apologist and radio broadcaster. When Fr Rumble was once asked whether Anglicans had holy water, he snapped back, "No. Anglicans only have water".
It is very sad to see such a once- great Christian body experiencing the decline and confusion which presently besets it. However, satirising the details of its behaviour serves little purpose, except to demonstrate the troubled nature of the writer.
I still have much for which I thank Anglicanism. Its magnificent tradition of Church music is without parallel, and its profound spirituality little known, and only briefly accounted by such people as Louis Boyer in his History. This lack of awareness, parallelled by the demise of personal prayer and an abiding sense of being bound to Jesus as Lord and Master is, indeed, a large part of that Church's present problems.
The rise of the so-called "New Theology" in the 1960s, referred to by Mullen was essentially, I believe, an outcome of Nietzsche's condemnation of Christian love as the result of man's fear of God.
There is, of course, much cause for hope and trust. For instance, I have just finished reading the encyclical, Deus Caritus Est. It is a salutary contradiction of Nietzsche's rather barren and mischievous thesis.
When I left the Anglican Church some fourteen years ago, I did so alone, and with a very heavy heart. I believe that, in some ways, John Henry Newman, as well as Christ, was my guide. Cardinal Newman did not wish to scandalise his Anglican congregation at Littlemore, so when he finally decided to leave that Communion and join the Catholic Church, he did so without vituperation and without itemising its faults to those for whom he had pastoral care.
I completely support the concern of your journal for orthodoxy in faith and devotion in worship. But I do hope we do not have to rely upon satire to get our message heard. Like His Holiness, I believe that we must call all men to a deep love of our Lord Jesus Christ, enjoin ourselves and encourage others to a deeper spirituality, particularly through the mystery of the Mass, and teach the orthodox Catholic faith.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 3 (April 2006), p. 16
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